T Nation

More Politics as Usual


#1

Ex-Political Aide Pleads Guilty to Bribery
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20060112/ap_on_go_co/congressman_probe
[i]
ALEXANDRIA, Va. - A Louisiana congressman demanded bribes in exchange for his help in promoting a pair of business deals in Africa, according to court documents filed Wednesday with a guilty plea by one of the congressman's former staffers.

Brett Pfeffer, 37, a former legislative director to Rep. William Jefferson, D-La., pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting bribery of a public official and conspiracy. He could get 20 years in prison when sentenced March 31.

A spokeswoman for Jefferson declined to comment.

Specifically, Pfeffer said in federal court that a congressman demanded bribes in exchange for his assistance in brokering two African telecom deals.
[/i]
And here is the part I liked...

The FBI raided Jefferson's home in August and, according to published reports, carted off cash from a freezer.


#2

If anyone makes a "cold cash" reference beyond the one I just wrote, I may shoot someone.


#3

The same goes for "frozen assets", I assume?


#4

What, nobody wants to take a few swipes at a democrat pinata?


#5

There's no sport in it when they stand up and plead guilty. I prefer to chase my democrats out into the open and shoot them. Figuratively, of course.

Feel better?


#6

Why? Is anyone really surprised that our officials are corrupt?

They are on both sides, and I would say the majority of them are guilty. Why make a big deal out of it when we are only going to replace them, and not reform them.


#7

At least this guy took a good old fashioned cash bribe instead of free trips, hotel stays and campaign contributions.


#8

Okay, well, if you don't care about the fact they are corrupt, no wonder they can get away with being corrupt.

What a bunch of apathetic pussies. Get on the phone and at least let them know you are watching carefully and will hold them accountable for their actions, especially with respect to meaningful reform.

Holy fuck, if you don't ask/tell these clowns what you want, of course nothing will change.

I live in a different country, I can only realistically bitch at my own representatives, actually I've conversed (via email) with my local member of parliament about a couple issues. Did I personally change the world, no, but if a shitload of people say the same thing, they'll figure out they have to listen.

It isn't happening "around you", you are part of it. That's the point of democracy, y'know. You are only powerless if you decide you are...


#9

vroom : im not surprised this kind of thing exists. The rest of the world has an ethics level waaaaayyyy below that of the US , canada , and the most stable european countries like switzerland. So offering bribes is an accepted way of doing business BUT american companies are forbidden from offering bribes. I would rather us pay off a african dignitary or local officials than a US senator, in order for us to be more competitive internationally as well as keeping the problems away from the U.S.


#10

"american companies are forbidden from offering bribes."

After like 10 minutes of laughing my ass off I can only agree. On paper--yes. That's why they make--uh-hum--campaign contributions.

Our goal shouldn't be to just be above everyone else--though I even disagree with this--we should be only concerned with the level of our ethics just because they are, well, ethics. And quite frankly I believe there to be very little ethics in any form of politics right now


#11

Ok, agreed but we cant bribe foreign officials even though nationals of their own country can and do. Why bribe your own senator when you could do that in africa and let it go un-noticed?


#12

bigdon,

I'm not sure what you are suggesting.

Do you think that because ethics are different elsewhere that it isn't in our own interests to remove corruption from our own government?

Or, are you suggesting hypocrisy since we can bribe officials from other governments, so why not our own?

I know that business/government is run differently in different places around the world. I'm not too concerned about the ethics of other countries... I'm concerned that my own country does not trivially allow politicians to be removed from the interests of the public they represent.

I also know that some people are weak and generally easily corrupted... such that we'll never be rid of the concept of corruption, in government or elsewhere, but that doesn't mean we should just ignore it.


#13

huh


#14

Yes, sorry for the misscommunication. Vroom --

Nobody i know is for it being ok to bribe american officials and/or for letting the officials be bribed by other foreign countries. That would be horrible!

I am just saying that to level the international playing field, to let american companies bribe foreign governments. I just read in the paper that russian businesses recently had a conference on bribing! American companies are currently not allowed to bribe international officials, to the coumpanies detriment.


#15

Both parties are full of crooks.

I would rather discuss policy and ideas. The inherent corruption of the system depresses me.


#16

Vroom,

I completely agree with what you are saying here.

I am curious though if you feel the same outrage towards the Liberal Party where there is so much corruption that no one is sure where it begins and where it ends?

We have the:

Sponsorship scam

Income trust leak

Option Canada scandal

David Dingwall's $740,000 in expenses

Shawinigate

HRDC Boondoggle (To refresh your memory, an internal HRDC audit of 459 files across seven program areas pointed to serious problems within the department. They found:

97% of all files lacked background checks;

80% showed no evidence of financial monitoring;

72% had no cash flow forecast

25% had no description of what the money was going to support;

and 15% of grant recipients didn't even have an application in their files.

These files revealed serious problems. Overpayments, expense claims which don't qualify, and organizations which didn't maintain proper records, yet millions of dollars continued to flow.)

In fact, there have been 36 different RCMP investigations into this government.

What are your thoughts on this?


#17

JP,

Honestly, I don't think it makes much different who is in power.

I was recently dating a woman in Ottawa, working for the auditing group. Generally, even the audits (no matter who is on top) are fudged to say what the leaders want.

To do otherwise would limit your career in Ottawa, wouldn't it?

I don't know what the answer is, but I don't expect much will change with different people. What I would like is some meaningful initiatives to help clean up these issues.

Anyway, the reason I say it won't change with a change a leadership, is that the people running these departments or organizations are not elected officials, and most of them outlast any one or two governments.

They are steeped in this culture from their hire date... regardless of who is elected at the very top.

I wish I had something more hopeful or helpful to say.


#18

While I disagree that a change in power won't change anything, the above is a very good point.