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Copyright 2014 by Attorney Carlos Gamino
A judge convicted McDonnell of eight counts of corruption, and her husband, former Governor Bob McDonnell, was convicted on 11 counts. (He was sentenced to spend 24 months in prison.)
Given the seriousness of this sort of crime—nobody wants corruption in our government, even at the lowest levels—corruption is worth exploring further.
Corruption in the Ranks: How Often Do We Catch It?
While we all know that there are back-door deals and this-for-that exchanges going on every day, it’s actually rare that we catch and prosecute government officials. In the last two decades, we’ve only nabbed a handful of federal officials.
- 2006: Bob Ney, Ohio representative, was also convicted of mail fraud; so was Duke Cunningham, California representative, who was also convicted of federal official bribery.
- 2008: Andrew J. Hinshaw, California representative, was convicted of bribery.
- 2009: William J. Jefferson, Louisiana representative, was convicted of federal official bribery, wire fraud, the
- Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and RICO (violating the Racketeer-Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act).
Remember, political corruption is defined only as “the use of powers by government officials for illegitimate private gain. An illegal act by an officeholder constitutes political corruption only if the act is directly related to their official duties, is done under color of law or involves trading in influence.”
Surely there’s more going on, just like the McDonnell case shows, but how much happens here in Wisconsin?
- Kevin Kavanaugh, Wisconsin appointee: Arrested for embezzling $42,000 from Operation Freedom, a veterans benefit organization.
- Tim Russell, Deputy Chief of Staff of Governor and Housing Director: Pled guilty to diverting more than $21,000 from Operation Freedom to his personal bank account.
- Charles Chvala, Senator: Sentenced to 9 months in jail for campaign violations.
- Brian Burke, Senator: Sentenced to 6 months in jail for misconduct in office and using state workers for his campaign.
- Kelly Rindfleisch, Deputy Chief of Staff to Governor: Sentenced to 6 months in jail after campaigning while working from the governor’s Milwaukee office.
For the most part, our officials have a better record than some other states (Kentucky and Pennsylvania, most notably).
What do you think? Are there corrupt officials running around unchecked, or does Wisconsin have a pretty good handle on this issue? Share your thoughts on Facebook—I’d love to hear your opinions. One of Virginia’s former first ladies is sitting in prison, but she’s not spending her sentence worrying about people laughing at her. According to her court case, McDonell accepted more than $165,000 in gifts from Star Scientific CEO Jonnie Williams.
News from Attorney Carlos Gamino
Corruption in the Ranks - Ex Virginia 1st Lady Sentenced to a Year in Jail
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