Corruption Continues

I'm starting to get feedback to my feature about prosecutions of public officials, mainly from people who feel I didn't sufficiently buy into complaints that ...
by | July 11, 2008

Cowdery I'm starting to get feedback to my feature about prosecutions of public officials, mainly from people who feel I didn't sufficiently buy into complaints that former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman was railroaded by Karl Rove and others.

What my story sought to suggest is that both corruption and prosecutorial abuses are problems and that sorting out when a prosecutor is politically motivated can be tricky since public corruption cases are necessarily political in nature.

Meanwhile, news of corruption cases continues unabated.

In Alaska, the oil bribery scandal I wrote about in the feature has led to yet another indictment, this time of state Sen. John Cowdery (pictured):

The Anchorage Republican is accused of scheming with Veco Corp. executives to buy the vote of another senator in the battle for an oil tax favored by North Slope oil producers.

According to the 16-page indictment, Cowdery and others conspired in 2006 to give another senator $25,000, characterized as campaign contributions. The indictment was handed up by a grand jury Wednesday and filed in U.S. District Court on Thursday.

In Pennsylvania, state Attorney General Tom Corbett's probe of Harrisburg's culture has led to a dozen indictments. This was a case I thought of writing about in my feature as a prominent example running counter to the general trend of such cases being handled by federal prosecutors.

Grand jurors here and in Pittsburgh cataloged what they described as a culture of corruption that allowed former state Rep. Michael Veon, current Rep. Sean Ramaley and 10 current and former Democratic staffers to divert millions of dollars in state resources, including more than $1 million in illegal pay bonuses.

The jurors said Mr. Veon and the staff members conspired to arrange hefty year-end pay bonuses to House employees who worked on political campaigns over a three-year period, while Mr. Ramaley is accused of working full-time on his 2004 House campaign in Beaver County while drawing a taxpayer salary as a member of Mr. Veon's staff.

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