With the caveat that I think Rod Blagojevich was properly convicted, I bet he fumes every day over the hypocrisy that is allowed to exist still in politics.
Basically Blago got convicted for pay to play. You want state business, you have to donate. His crime was essentially that he didn't leave it unsaid, but rather made it directly clear that if you want your legislation passed or to earn a state contract, you better donate. His defense was that this was politics as usual and it seems he was right.
In an article in today's Tribune, Texas Governor and Presidential candidate Rick Perry is documented as doing essentially the same things that Blago did, but on a much larger scale. According to the article, in the last decade Perry has received $37 million from 150 individuals and couples. That is money Blago could only dream of. Nearly half of those donors received state contracts, licenses or appointments under Perry's watch.
One million+ donor got the only license to build a radioactive waste dump which reportedly will bring back hundreds of millions. An auto magnate donated $400,000 and gets a $25 million subsidy to build a race track. The list goes on, with the biggest allegation being that Perry stuffed regulatory boards with supporters of his donors that in the case of the radioactive waste dump allegedly ignored a claim by geologists that the waste was too close to ground water. Of course, who would ever think that a Governor of Texas would ignore science.
Perry via a spokesman said that of course there is nothing to see here and that they separate politics from fund-raising. One billionaire donor claimed that his contributions made getting business harder because it made him "an easy target." What a joke.
Stories like this are a big reason why average citizens simply hate politics. Both sides do this nonsense and we just sit there and take it. But if you are Rod Blagojevich, you have to wonder how come you are going to jail for a long time while Rick Perry is now the politician du jour and stands a real likely chance of becoming the next President.
Did the two governors really do anything different here? Is there a justification for giving government contracts to mega donors? Did President Bush who appointed big donors to ambassador jobs and of course let them run the Iraq war do anything different than Blago? Did Mayor Daley do anything different when his donors won huge City contracts?
The biggest difference in all of these cases is that we don't have a wiretap of these other politicians saying "F em" if they don't come through and we don't have any of these Texas donors saying that they felt pressured to donate in order to get what they want. So Blago is going to jail because he was so open about what's going on and these others go on and enjoy the spoils of their unethical acts. In other words, until he was arrested, Blago was honest about his corruption and that lands him in jail while Rick Perry denies any relationship to kickbacks and is on his way to the White House. Perhaps the solution is to wiretap all of these politicians so we can see what is really going on.
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