Nov 2, 2007

Corruption in Government Friday Roundup

A little Warren Zevon for ya as well!
Seems the DOJ has still been trucking along..trying cases of various ilk with regards to corrupt government officials on all levels..state and fed alike. From TPMmuckraker we get these gems..with..gasp..a Democrat included:

Alaska state officials and Veco
Prosecutors scored their third conviction of a third former Alaska state lawmaker yesterday, nailing Vic Kohring on three of four counts. He was convicted of taking a couple thousand dollars in bribes from Veco executives and asking for $17,000 more (to pay off credit card debt due to health care bills).

Jurors were united in finding Kohring guilty -- and in not feeling good about it:

As they left the Federal Building, jurors looked drained but relieved after roughly nine hours of deliberations over two days. Only a few would talk. They said they anguished over their decision. One, who declined to be identified other than as "juror No. 8," said "they didn't get the sharks. They got the minnow." Most felt sorry for Kohring and saw him as "a very sympathetic figure," said Alan Rowe, juror No. 12.

The "sharks" in that metaphor, of course, would have to be the biggest fish in Alaska: Sen. Ted Stevens (R-AK) and his son, Ben.

Brent Wilkes jury still deliberating

Day three of deliberations for the jury in Brent Wilkes' trial begins today.

Did Wilkes' performance on the stand give them something to think about? Or are they just laboring their way through the two dozen counts in the indictment?

More Alaska corruption below

Feds Probing Dem Sen. Relationship to Former Aide

As the feds are bearing down hard on Sen. Ted Stevens (R-AK), raiding his Alaska home and convening a grand jury in Washington, D.C., another investigation into a sitting senator has been proceeding quietly up in New Jersey.

Over the past several months, the U.S. attorney's office in New Jersey has issued two grand jury subpoenas to former clients of Kay LiCausi, a lobbyist and former aide to Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ). The investigation, of course, is no secret, but after a controversy raged over subpoenas issued shortly before the 2006 election, the investigation has shifted direction entirely. Now the focus seems to be whether Menendez steered lobbying contracts to his former girlfriend and then delivered government funds to those client once they'd hired her.

It's never been confirmed that LiCausi and Menendez, who's divorced, were in a romantic relationship. But the rumors were such that The New York Times didn't hesitate to report in 2005 on "the widespread belief" in New Jersey and among Menendez's former staffers that they were. And Menendez himself has never denied it, always answering queries with "that's strictly personal." Reports of the relationship have always been phrased in the past tense since 2005.

LiCausi started work for Menendez back when he was in the House in 1998. She was 26. Four years later she left with the title of chief of staff of his New Jersey office, a position that the Times called "midlevel" -- she supervised six people. But immediately she began raking in some hefty contracts, not only as a lobbyist, but also as a fundraiser for Menendez and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Menendez admitted to the Times that he'd "encouraged" the DCCC to hire her for the $10,000 a month spot. And no doubt he was responsible for the work on his political committees, where she was also making another $10,000 a month fundraising for both his political action committee and his campaign. And then there were the lobbying contracts which also rolled in.

Read more on this case

There you have it..a little corruption to begin your weekend..

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