Archive for the ‘bribes’ Category

Mexico: Top Cops Bribed By Drug Cartel

January 24, 2009

President Felipe Calderon’s war on drug trafficking has led to his own doorstep, with the arrest of a dozen high-ranking officials with alleged ties to Mexico‘s most powerful drug gang, the Sinaloa Cartel.

The U.S. praises Calderon for rooting out corruption at the top. But critics say the arrests reveal nothing more than a timeworn government tactic of protecting one cartel and cracking down on others.

By MARK STEVENSON, Associated Press Writer

Operation Clean House comes just as the U.S. is giving Mexico its first installment of $400 million in equipment and technology to fight drugs. Most will go to a beefed-up federal police agency run by the same people whose top aides have been arrested as alleged Sinaloa spies.

“If there is anything worse than a corrupt and ill-equipped cop, it is a corrupt and well-equipped cop,” said criminal justice expert Jorge Chabat, who studies the drug trade.

U.S. drug enforcement agents say they have no qualms about sending support to Mexico.

“We’ve been working with the Mexican government for decades at the DEA,” said Garrison Courtney, spokesman for the Drug Enforcement Administration. “Obviously, we ensure that the individuals we work with are vetted.”

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090124/ap_o
n_re_la_am_ca/lt_mexico_cartel_in_control

Related:
Mexico: Obama Can’t Ignore Elephant on the Continent
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 Drugs, Crime Make Mexico “Under Sustained Assault”
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Mexico: “under sustained assault”; Could “collapse” — U.S. Military
.
 Obama Picks New World “Winners” and “Losers”

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Corruption, Nepotism and Entitlement: Illinois Politics

December 17, 2008

Illinois politics, it seems, is where corruption, nepotism and politics meet.

He was married to one of the state’s top legislators.  That connection and his blue-collar reputation and charm catapaulted him into the Governor’s job.  Then he figured he was “owed” more: a cabinet position, money for campaigns and maybe even money for himself and his wife.

By John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom
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That belief that I am  “owed” runs deep in Illinois politics.

Jesse Jackson Jr.,  the son of a prominent minister and civil rights activists thought he was owed too.  From the House of Representatives he had his eye on the Senate and perhaps bigger jobs and money for his wife.

I’ll scratch your back if you’ll scratch mine is common in Illinois: and it has been for years.

What makes the itch go away and then crave more is money and favors….
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“As much as politicians in Illinois have had a tradition of corruption, the people of Illinois have had a tradition of accepting it, even expecting it — and long before Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich was accused of trying to put a Senate seat up to the highest bidder,” wrote Kate Zernike of the New York Times.

“Otto Kerner, who served as governor in the 1960s, was found to have accepted bribes in the form of racetrack stock only after the track owner deducted it on her taxes as the cost of doing business.”

And there are many more examples of corruption in Illinois politics and acceptance by the Illinois voters…

Former Gov. Otto Kerner, right, was convicted in 1973 on bribery, tax evasion and perjury charges; and former Representative Dan Rostenkowski pleaded guilty to two charges of mail fraud in 1996.
Above, left, Dan Rostenkowski. Right, Otto Kerner, Jr.

Related:
In Illinois, Corruption Often Expected, Accepted


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 In this Aug. 17, 2005, file photo Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, ... 
In this Aug. 17, 2005, file photo Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, left, laughs with Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich during Governor’s Day at the Illinois State Fair  in Springfield, Ill. Blagojevich was roused from bed and arrested Tuesday, Dec. 9, 2008, after prosecutors said he was caught on wiretaps audaciously scheming to sell now President-elect Barack Obama’s vacant Senate seat for cash or a plum job for himself in the new administration.

Related:
Ill. gov. says ready to tell his side of scandal

(AP Photo/Randy Squires, File)

Illinois Governor Arrested

December 9, 2008

“I don’t care whether you tape me privately or publicly. I can tell you that whatever I say is always lawful,” Blagojevich said Monday after an unrelated press conference….

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Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich was arrested Tuesday on charges of conspiring to get financial benefits through his authority to appoint a U.S. senator to fill the vacancy left by Barack Obama‘s election as president. has been taken into federal custody at his home, the Chicago Tribune reported on Tuesday citing unnamed sources.

According to a federal criminal complaint, Blagojevich also was charged with illegally threatening to withhold state assistance to Tribune Co., the owner of the Chicago Tribune, in the sale of Wrigley Field. In return for state assistance, Blagojevich allegedly wanted members of the paper’s editorial board who had been critical of him fired.

A 76-page FBI affidavit said the 51-year-old Democratic governor was intercepted on court-authorized wiretaps over the last month conspiring to sell or trade the vacant Senate seat for personal benefits for himself and his wife, Patti.

The affidavit said Blagojevich discussed getting a substantial salary for himself at a nonprofit foundation or an organization affiliated with labor unions.

It said Blagojevich also talked about getting his wife placed on corporate boards where she might get $150,000 a year in director’s fees.

He also allegedly discussed getting campaign funds for himself or possibly a post in the president’s cabinet or an ambassadorship once he left the governor’s office.

“I want to make money,” the affidavit quotes him as saying in one conversation.

U.S. Attorney Patrick J. Fitzgerald said in a statement that “the breadth of corruption laid out in these charges is staggering.”

“They allege that Blagojevich put a for sale sign on the naming of a United States senator,” Fitzgerald said.”

Among those being considered for the post include U.S. Reps. Danny Davis and Jesse Jackson Jr.

Blagojevich also was charged with using his authority as governor in an attempt to squeeze out campaign contributions.

His chief of staff, John Harris, also was arrested.

Corruption in the Blagojevich administration has been the focus of a federal investigation involving an alleged $7 million scheme aimed at squeezing kickbacks out of companies seeking business from the state. Federal prosecutors have acknowledged they’re also investigating “serious allegations of endemic hiring fraud” under Blagojevich.

Political fundraiser Antoin “Tony” Rezko who raised money for the campaigns of both Blagojevich and Obama is awaiting sentencing after being convicted of fraud and other charges. Blagojevich’s chief fundraiser, Christopher G. Kelly, is due to stand trial early next year on charges of obstructing the Internal Revenue Service.

According to Tuesday’s complaint, Blagojevich schemed with Rezko, millionaire-fundraiser turned federal witness Stuart Levine and others to get financial benefits for himself and his campaign committee.

Federal prosecutors said Blagojevich and the chairman of his campaign committee have been speeding up corrupt fundraising activities in the last month to get as much money as possible before the end of the year when a new law would curtail his ability to raise contributions from companies with state contracts worth more than $50,000.

According to the affidavit, agents learned Blagojevich was seeking $2.5 million in campaign contributions by the end of the year, with a large part allegedly to come from companies and individuals who have gotten state contracts or appointments.

Blagojevich took the chief executive’s office in 2003 as a reformer promising to clean up former Gov. George Ryan’s mess.

Ryan, a Republican, is serving a 6-year prison sentence after being convicted on racketeering and fraud charges. A decade-long investigation began with the sale of driver’s licenses for bribes and led to the conviction of dozens of people who worked for Ryan when he was secretary of state and governor.

Rod Blagojevich AP

FBI spokesman Frank Bochte said federal agents arrested the governor and Harris simultaneously at their homes at 6:15 a.m. and took them to the Chicago FBI headquarters.

Bochte said he did not know if either man was handcuffed or if the governor’s family was their North Side home at the time of his arrest. He did say Blagojevich and Harris both were given time to get dressed before being taken to the headquarters.

He also did not have any details about Blagojevich’s arrest, only that he was cooperative with federal agents.

“It was a very calm setting,” he said.

The governor was to appear later Tuesday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Nan Nolan to answer the charges. The time was not immediately set.

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Associated Press Writer Don Babwin contributed to this report.

Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich

The newspaper said on its website that the U.S. attorney’s office in Chicago would not confirm the information.

Blagojevich was the subject of a federal corruption probe.

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In this April 18, 2007 file photo, Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich ... 
In this April 18, 2007 file photo, Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich speaks at the 45th Annual Illinois Governor’s Prayer Breakfast in Springfield, Ill. Authorities in Chicago have arrested Ill. Gov. Rod Blagojevich on federal charges. U.S. Attorney’s office spokesman Randall Samborn says both Blagojevich and his chief of staff John Harris were arrested Tuesday, Dec. 9, 2008.(AP Photo/Seth Perlman, File)

John Harris, the Chief of Staff to the governor,  was also taken into custory.  The corruption charges include mail fraud and wire fraud.  The evidences was collected apparently due to a court ordered wire tap.  Fox news reported that the extent of curruption is “staggering.” 

From WLS TV

A source told ABC7’s Chuck Goudie that Gov. Blagojevich was taken into federal custody at his home on Sunnyside around 7 a.m. His chief of staff, John Harris, was also arrested.

“There was no advance notice given to either individual,” said Ross Rice, FBI.

The affidavit was unsealed around 8:30 a.m. That affidavit accused Gov. Blagojevich of, among other things, trying to obtain campaign contributions up front in consideration of an appointment to the Senate seat left open by Pres.- Elect Barack Obama.

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From the Associated Press
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Corruption in the Blagojevich administration has been the focus of a federal Operation Board Games involving an alleged $7 million scheme aimed at squeezing kickbacks out of companies seeking business from the state. Federal prosecutors have acknowledged they’re also investigating “serious allegations of endemic hiring fraud” under Blagojevich.

The Chicago Tribune reported Tuesday morning that the federal investigation had spread to Blagojevich’s efforts to fill the U.S. Senate vacancy left by the election of Barack Obama as president.

Political fundraiser Antoin “Tony” Rezko who raised money for the campaigns of both Blagojevich and Obama is awaiting sentencing after being convicted of fraud and other charges. Blagojevich’s chief fundraiser, Christopher G. Kelly, is due to stand trial early next year on charges of obstructing the Internal Revenue Service.

Blagojevich, a Democrat, took the chief executive’s office in 2003 as a reformer promising to clean up former Gov. George Ryan’s mess.

Ryan, a Republican, is serving a six-year prison sentence after being convicted on racketeering and fraud charges. The decade-long investigation began with the sale of driver’s licenses for bribes and led to the conviction of dozens of people who worked for Ryan when he was secretary of state and governor.

 

Above: Tony Rezko.  Photo: Nam Y. Huh/Associated Press

Obama gets high rating for handling of transition

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Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich of Illinois.
Amanda Rivkin/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images