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Public Corruption in Chester County, PA
I believe an unlikely mix of alleged drug trafficking related politicos and alleged white nationalist related politicos united to elect the infamous “Bloc of Four” in the abysmal voter turnout election of 2005. During their four year term the drug business was good again and white nationalists used Coatesville as an example on white supremacist websites like “Stormfront”. Strong community organization and support from law enforcement, in particular Chester County District Attorney Joseph W. Carroll has begun to turn our community around. The Chester County drug trafficking that I believe centers on Coatesville continues and I believe we still have public officials in place that profit from the drug sales. But the people here are amazing and continue to work against the odds to make Coatesville a good place to live.
Friday, May 30, 2008
In France, in England and here in the USA the Law is not mostly about property and kings. The Law as we know it began as a way to bend the will of property owners and kings to reflect the common good. The Law here is about community and the equal treatment of every individual in that community.
There are still remnants of the "might makes right" attitude of Dark Ages Feudal Kings in our society, but the concept of fairness permeates every pore of our culture.
Those people back in the 18th Century who challenged the “Rights of Kings” foresaw the very human possibility of those with property and power making themselves new ‘kings”. They put checks on unlimited power into the foundations of our government. One of the checks is our concept of the law.
One thing about prosecutors and police; the overwhelming majority of them are in it to enforce the law. "The law is not a cold, impersonal thing; it springs from that passion to respect every person equally, to establish fairness on life's playing field."
Sometimes political favoritism gets in the way of enforcing the law; but most of the time political favoritism ultimately loses the battle in a law enforcement officer's head. And that passion to establish fairness on life's playing field wins.
Published on Capitol Hill Blue (http://www.capitolhillblue.com/cont)
It's hard to arrest a Congressman
Campaigning under the cloud of federal investigations is tough enough, but could Sen. Ted Stevens or Rep. Don Young have the added worries of an indictment before they face the voters of Alaska?
It's been 21 months since the federal corruption investigation surfaced in Alaska with a series of dramatic raids on legislative and other offices. Eight cases have been brought, resulting in convictions in all but one -- and that matter is still pending.
No one outside the government is privy to where the investigation is headed and whether it will eventually lead to charges against Stevens and Young, who deny wrongdoing but who won't discuss specifics about the allegations.
It remains especially difficult to charge members of Congress for matters related to legislation. The Constitution's Speech or Debate Clause offers a broad shield against interference by the Justice Department and other agencies of the executive branch into how a congressman might have created, for example, an earmark that benefited a campaign contributor, family member or former aide -- matters that are part of the investigations of Young and Stevens.
Last year, that clause was cited by an appeals court in tossing out evidence seized by the FBI in a raid on the office of Rep. William Jefferson, D-La., the congressman famous for keeping $90,000 in marked bills in his home freezer.
Yet the government is pressing ahead, with grand juries continuing to hear evidence in at least Anchorage and Washington, D.C.
Questions about the timing of future indictments, should more be handed up by the grand juries, are being heard with increasing frequency in Alaska as the investigation drags on in relative secrecy and the elections approach. It's just three months to the Republican primary, where both Stevens and Young face opponents, and just over five months to the general election, where strong Democratic challengers await.
The Justice Department's policy manual for U.S. attorneys doesn't impose any restrictions on the timing of indictments in public corruption cases. A department spokeswoman in Washington, Laura Sweeney, said such decisions are made on a "case-by-case basis," much like the other factors that go into whether to indict or not.
The Alaska investigation is being managed by the Justice Department's Public Integrity Section, a headquarters unit of career prosecutors noted for working on its own timetable and setting its own priorities. But that section also has a record of not bringing cases against sitting politicians in the immediate run-up to an election.
Stevens, 84, is the longest-serving Republican senator. His Girdwood home was searched last summer by FBI and IRS agents investigating his connection to Bill Allen, the chairman of the now-defunct oil field services company Veco. That firm managed and paid some of the employees who worked on renovations that doubled the size of Stevens' home in 2000.
Young, 74, has never lost an election since he gained office in a special election in March 1973, when he replaced Rep. Nick Begich, the father of Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich, who vanished on a flight from Anchorage and was never found. Young is a subject of at least two federal investigations: the Veco case and an earmark he introduced for a highway interchange in Florida sought by a campaign contributor. Young is also connected to the long-running investigation of super lobbyist Jack Abramoff, now in federal prison.
Investigations don't necessarily mean charges will be brought. Many more elected officials have been investigated than have been indicted. Yet political damage has already been done.
"A politician like Stevens or Young who is under investigation during an election year is in deep trouble," said Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia's Center for Politics and a frequent media analyst. "It really does affect the likelihood of re-election."
"The feds are very conscious of what they're doing in an election year, and they know that if they indict or even investigate a senator or a congressman during an
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