NY Speaker Arrested for Corruption. Is Texas Next?

This from the Associated Press:

New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver was arrested Thursday on public corruption charges and accused of using his position as one of the most powerful men in Albany to obtain millions of dollars in bribes and kickbacks masked as legitimate income.

In a criminal complaint, authorities said Silver abused power. “There is probable cause to believe Silver obtained about $4 million in payments characterized as attorney referral fees solely through the corrupt use of his official position,” the complaint said.

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara took over the files of New York’s Moreland anti-corruption commission after Cuomo closed it in April. He said in October that investigations into Albany’s pay-to-play politics are continuing.

Do you know what other state is famous for pay-to-play politics? There’s this tidbit from NPR:

A prominent campaign contributor to Texas Gov. Rick Perry is under investigation for mismanaging hurricane disaster relief. A Texas Senate committee is examining the state’s contract with engineering firm HNTB, which critics say is the latest example of the pay-to-play culture that exists in Perry’s administration.

And this report from Bloomberg.com:

Now, after the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas spent $836 million with no major advances to show, its research has been halted by allegations of favoritism toward people that contributed to Perry and other leaders. A district attorney, lawmakers and the attorney general are investigating.

And then there’s this story in the New York Times:

Two years ago, John McHale, an entrepreneur from Austin, Tex., who has given millions of dollars to Democratic candidates and causes, did something very unusual for him: he wrote a $50,000 check to a Republican candidate, Rick Perry, then seeking a third full term as governor of Texas. In September 2010, he did it again, catapulting himself into the top ranks of Mr. Perry’s donors.

Mr. McHale, a Perry spokesman said after the initial donation, “understands Governor Perry’s leadership has made Texas a good place to do business.”

Including, it turned out, for Mr. McHale’s business interests and partners. In May 2010 an economic development fund administered by the governor’s office handed $3 million to G-Con, a pharmaceutical start-up that Mr. McHale helped get off the ground. At least two other executives with connections to the firm had also given Mr. Perry tens of thousands of dollars.

“Texas politics does have this amazing pay-to-play culture,” said Harold Cook, a Democratic political consultant.

Do you know who in El Paso has given hundreds of thousands of dollars to Rick Perry’s campaigns? According to this old report from Texans for Public Justice, Paul Foster and Woody and Gayle Hunt gave a combined $777,902 for Gov. Perry’s campaigns through 2010. I’d be surprised if they didn’t pony up a little more in the last four years.

I wonder what they got for it.


  1. Barack Obama does this on a scale never before seen in political history. From so-called green technologies to ambassadorships, he gives everything to his top donors. Billions and billions of dollars to democrat cronies and you don’t have anything to say about that. But you do cite three liberal publications as evidence against a conservative. Interesting.

    1. I’m going to let you in on a little secret, Mr. Doody. Neither the Republicans nor the Democrats have an exclusive on fleecing the taxpayer. What you call conservative policy is just another rationale for aggressive self-interest. The true believers are delusional. Our political parties are playing their ardent supporters for votes and campaign donations through carefully plotted marketing campaigns to push hot-issue buttons that are miles from anything meaningful.

      Sometime in the chill of the night the United States became a fascist warmongering nation that feeds on the blood of its youth. But you’d rather talk about how the Democrats screwed you. When was the last good war? Sixty years ago? The U.S. government is a subsidiary of War, Inc., and if you and the electorate allow yourselves to be distracted by Democrats versus Republicans, then the people don’t stand much of a chance.

      On the other hand, thanks for being ardent about something. There are a lot of people who are past caring.

      I try to give the blog some local perspective, and, it’s the Republicans who have running the relevant whorehouse lately, so they’re the ones who get the blame today. Sheldon Silver, by the way, is a Democrat. If the local bigs had been giving money to Mr. Silver, then I probably would have mentioned it, but New York City already had a ballpark.

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