Commentary and information about public safety and security, intelligence and counterintelligence, open government and secrecy, and other issues in northern Idaho and eastern Washington.

Location: Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, United States

Raised in Palouse, WA. Graduated from Washington State University. US Army (Counterintelligence). US Secret Service (Technical Security Division) in Fantasyland-on-the-Potomac and Los Angeles. Now living in north Idaho.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Bribery - How Will I Know? What Should I Do?

Whitecaps was contacted by a person running for public office in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. Presuming that s/he will win, the person asked some very good questions: How will I know if someone is trying to bribe me or is setting me up to be corrupted? What should I do if I think I'm being bribed or being set up?

What impressed me most about the candidate's questions is s/he realized that public corruption has already surfaced in Coeur d'Alene. Many people choose to deny that, either because they don't think it could ever happen here or because they know it has happened and wish they had done more to prevent it.

Whitecaps has put up several posts going back as far as December 7, 2004. They may help answer the candidate's questions.

The processes for spotting, assessing, recruiting, and controlling a public official in Coeur d'Alene are barely different from those used by an intelligence service to recruit a spy in another country. Generally the process identifies a person with placement and access, a person who can deliver whatever results the handler wants. It identifies that person's vulnerabilities. What motivates him or her? How can s/he best be manipulated and controlled? How can I as the handler get that person to trust me enough to want to be willing to violate the law or overcome moral objections to my requests? If I can't ideologically motivate the official to willingly want to work for me, then how can I gradually and subtly obligate that person so that s/he can't refuse?

Public corruption is not pretty. The people who use it may have lived in the community for years, maybe decades, maybe their entire lives. They may appear to be "respected" members of the community. But people deserving of the community's respect do not corruptly and illegally exploit the community's public officials for personal gain or reputational enhancement.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

anyone who has to ask how he will know if he's being bribed or set up is too dumb to hold office

8:09 AM, September 05, 2007  
Blogger Bill McCrory said...


No, s/he was actually quite perceptive. S/he understood just how subtle both bribery and co-opting could be. Too often people get locked in to the legal definitions, particularly with bribery.

Bribery is essentially gaining control of an official's influence or vote in return for giving the official something of value. Something of value can be anything from money to objects to promises for future personal support to support for some project that will enhance the official's reputation in the community. It can also be support to someone close to the official - a family member, a business associate, a friend.

If the value is given for future performance, it's a bribe. If it's given in repayment for past performance, it's a gratuity. Either way, it's an offense to public order.

If the official can't or won't be bribed, it may be necessary to coerce cooperation. Coercion, extortion, can be direct or implied, subtle or strongarm. The street term is blackmail. It can be a threat to harm someone either physically or reputationally. It can be a threat to expose some earlier misconduct by the official or someone close to him or her.

The person who contacted Whitecaps was not too dumb to hold office. S/he was smart enough to want to learn how to avoid being set up.

1:20 PM, September 05, 2007  
Blogger Dogwalkmusings said...

It is a sad comment on our community and our times when a candidate for public office has to ask such a question. Realistic, yes; never-the-less sad.

3:13 PM, September 05, 2007  
Blogger Bill McCrory said...


Yes, it is, but our community is no different from any other. There is a huge amount of money in play in this community - not just huge by Coeur d'Alene standards but by any standard. Where there is money, there will be predators who try to get as much of it as they can. I wish that our present and past council members would have asked the questions when they were candidates. I fault our city and state police and county sheriff for not warning them and educating them about public corruption back then so they might have been better able to recognize and defend against the predation that's occurring.

3:22 PM, September 05, 2007  
Blogger Dogwalkmusings said...

I know little about our State Police, but do you think our sheriff's department or city police are up to the task of this type of education if asked?

5:10 PM, September 05, 2007  
Blogger Bill McCrory said...


No, I don't. Moreover, I seriously doubt they would be asked to provide it. After all, if they know something is illegal and go ahead and do it anyway, they can try to use "ignorance" as a defense. Only Kootenai County Prosecutor Bill Douglas would be dumb enough to buy that. In his mind, willful ignorance of the law apparently equates with the inability to form criminal intent.

Why should we expect a higher standard of conduct from local and county officers when the Idaho State Police Detective Captain in charge of criminal investigations is himself a snitch for Coeur d'Alene's city government?

6:41 PM, September 05, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

so dan gookin wants to know how he is being co-opted? simple he got roetter and rassmussen blowing smoke up his butt and he bought it hook line and sinker. chump.

9:20 PM, September 08, 2007  
Blogger Bill McCrory said...


Thanks for reading and commenting.

9:44 AM, September 09, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What do you think of the chances of success by Larry Spencer to get an investion started by the Attorney General's office? What is the legal aspect of what he is trying to accomplish. (see Huckleberries wild card)

8:29 AM, September 13, 2007  
Blogger Bill McCrory said...


I don't know what Spencer's chances are, but he deserves a lot of credit for stepping up and pursuing it. If there is a factual basis for Spencer's complaint, our local prosecutor would be very wise to ask Wasden's office to step in and investigate. That may mean the ISP would conduct the investigation, and there is a potential problem with ISP involvement. Spencer's allegations do not appear to involve the City of Coeur d'Alene, but one never knows where an investigation will lead.

Like everyone else, I'll wait and see what happens. But unlike some, I'm not going to criticize Spencer for being persistent.

1:23 PM, September 13, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bill, with regard to your latest thread on Jail Data Collection, I was unable to post a comment above. You need to file a public information request requesting the maximum capacity of the Sheriff's work release center up on Dalton Avenue. You need to also ask for public records indicating the occupancy rate of that center, say, for the past 2 years. here what you will find. About 2/3 of that work center is alwyas vacant. why, you may ask. Because the Sheriff has set an exorbitant fee of $30/day for inmates to use the work release center when a judge allows work release to be served as their imposed jail time. That means a defendant must pay $210/week for the "privilege" of work release. All this has been set by a bullying sheriff who constantly whines about jail overcrowding. This means that many defednants who make 8-10/ hr. and are supporting families, cannot support their families, because their entire paycheck goes to the sheriff. This means that if you cannot afford work release, you g sit in the main jail with an orange jumpsuit. On top of that, defednants must pay the first week up front, meaning most don't have it and go serve their time in the main jail. This is not consiswtent with the judges' intnet that they be give work release to keep their jobs and support their families.
I can tell yu that Marc Stewart of the CDA Press would cover such a story and aggrieved families would come out of the woodwork. The Spokesman Review is worthless, and are apologists for the sheriff. Dave Oliveria is also worthless, because Captain Ben wolfinger of KCSD is his new source and Judge Marano's son-in-law. thus the good treatment of an awful judge. Reporter Taryn Brodwater's brother in law is a deputy sheriff.
Good luck, and I hope you pursue this. The defense lawyers in this town are cowards and won't question the practice.

8:36 PM, September 18, 2007  
Blogger Bill McCrory said...


I apologize for not enabling the "Comments" on my jail data post. It was an oversight. I've enabled comments on it now and have copied your comment to it.

As I recall during the jail expansion meetings, sheriff's personnel touted those fees (pay-to-work) as being real cost-savings for the taxpayers. However, I also recall that as you said, the work release center has a high vacancy rate. When asked why more low-threat prisoners couldn't be housed there, the answer was that the facility was not built to be a true custodial facility. It is not a "hard" structure. That does not address your concern about why more low-threat prisoners could not be housed there. I'm going to email your comments to Shirley Thagard. She and a group of citizens, including at least one judge, are meeting to try and suggest better solutions to the problems at the jail.

I'm also going to forward your comments to the Coeur d'Alene Press. Frankly, I have little confidence that the sheriff's office would respond honestly and completely to an open records request from me. It becomes politically riskier for them to jerk around our local newspaper.

6:51 AM, September 19, 2007  

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