Friday, December 12, 2008

Is Corruption a Problem in N.C.?

With the news regarding Democrat Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich and his alleged attempt to sell Barack Obama's vacated Senate seat, North Carolinians are reminded of our state's own high profile corruption cases of the recent past. USA Today, meanwhile, released a study saying North Carolina was in the bottom third of states when it comes to corruption. The study is already drawing fire for ranking Illinois at 18th among states. Blogger Dan Gearino, on his Words Assembled Well blog, questions whether USA Today took into account the nature of N.C.'s corruption among top Democrat officials now in prison. We could not have made the point better ourselves.

Give us credit for our sleaze

In the wake of the latest allegation of political shenanigans in Chicago, USA Today published a state-by-state study of corruption to determine where it was most deeply rooted. It turns out that North Carolina was in the bottom third of all states, near the clean end of the scale. … My problem is that we don’t get credit for the quality of our political crooks. North Carolina’s corruption is top-shelf stuff, and we’re not getting recognized for it.

For instance, what other state can claim that its speaker of the House went to prison for (a) accepting bribes, (b) bribing other people, and (c) conducting his transactions in public bathrooms? By my reckoning, one House speaker selling out the integrity of the state in toilet stalls is worth ten small-town councilmen who get caught fixing traffic tickets or trading votes on zoning matters in return for Caribbean vacations.

Don’t forget that in recent years we also had both a U.S. congressman and a state agriculture commissioner go to prison for corruption, as well as the state representative our House speaker bribed (in an IHOP restroom, for the record). We even had an idiot prosecutor who wrongfully pursued a high profile criminal case in order to get re-elected. Sure, there was no money involved in that scam, and he only served one day in jail, but we should get extra credit for creativity. …

C’mon, USA Today. North Carolina’s corruption ranking deserves a second look. Give us our due. We’ll make it worth your while … if you catch my drift.