Twelve people in Philadelphia's "shadow government" were indicted on federal charges of conspiracy, fraud, extortion and false statements. They include the city's former treasurer, a top fund-raiser for the mayor, a president and vice president of Commerce Bank and eight others, named in the "pay-to-play" politics game that is the foundation of our corrupt city government.
Mayor Street was not charged with any crime, but remains a subject of an ongoing investigation, prosecutors said.
U.S. Attorney Patrick L. Meehan told reporters at a press conference that he didn't think the mayor could be indicted based on the evidence now in hand.
But Meehan, in announcing a 56-count indictment of the 12 defendants, blamed the mayor for enabling corrupting influences to seep through city government on his watch.
Meehan said an investigation by FBI and IRS agents, which included lengthy wiretaps, showed the mayor "allowed" a key fundraiser and friend, attorney Ronald White, "to wield the power, the corrupting power that he did."
The grand jury concluded that Street told his staff that White and his clients should get favored treatment and access to inside information.
White, 54, charged with conspiracy, fraud, extortion and false statements, allegedly "showered" former city treasurer and co-defendant Corey Kemp with payoffs and gifts in exchange for allowing White to choose who got lucrative city contracts.
Kemp, 34, responsible for $1.5 billion in city investments and deposits, also saw to it that White was hired to counsel the city on bond deals, an arrangement that earned White more than $633,000 in legal fees.
The two spoke often on the phone, unaware the FBI was listening. Last August, White told Kemp, "the key for us right now, man is to concentrate on getting John [Street] elected, so it gives us four more years to do our thing."
The only thing wrong in all of this is that our slimy mayor was not indicted either.
Why I will never vote for Hillary Clinton:
Headlining an appearance with other Democratic women senators on behalf of Sen. Barbara Boxer, who is up for re-election this year, Hillary Clinton told several hundred supporters -- some of whom had ponied up as much as $10,000 to attend -- to expect to lose some of the tax cuts passed by President Bush if Democrats win the White House and control of Congress.
"Many of you are well enough off that ... the tax cuts may have helped you," Sen. Clinton said. "We're saying that for America to get back on track, we're probably going to cut that short and not give it to you. We're going to take things away from you on behalf of the common good."
Lady, I've seen what the people in charge of "the public good" do with my money. (Please see story above on corrupt city government). If my city government is this bad, just imagine what the federal government is like with its pork, lobbyists and special interests.
[No thank you.]
James Lileks has an amusing story about his own encounter with someone advocating tax-cut roll-backs. He explained how he used his tax refund to replace his old staircase, hiring several people and injecting the money into the economy.
“Well, it’s a philosophical difference,” she sniffed. She had pegged me as a form of life last seen clicking the leash off a dog at Abu Ghraib. “I think the money should have gone straight to those people instead of trickling down.” Those last two words were said with an edge.
“But then I wouldn’t have hired them,” I said. “I wouldn’t have new steps. And they wouldn’t have done anything to get the money.”
“Well, what did you do?” she snapped.
“What do you mean?”
“Why should the government have given you the money in the first place?”
“They didn’t give it to me. They just took less of my money.”
That was the last straw. Now she was angry. And the truth came out:
“Well, why is it your money? I think it should be their money.”
Quote du jour:
"A government that robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend upon the support of Paul."
-- George Bernard Shaw (1856 - 1950) English dramatist, critic
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