Saturday, May 14, 2005

Municipal Corruption Awards


In honor of the end of the municipal corruption trial in Philadelphia this week, the Commission of Inquiry into Corruption in American Society announced the designation of its third annual Hughie Awards.

The F. Joseph Loeper Good Soldier Award. Given to the public servant who achieves notoriety for corrupt acts that are material, yet which pale in comparison to the corruption of those for whom they toil.

The 2005 Good Soldier Award is given to Corey Kemp, City of Philadelphia for accepting free vacations, a low interest bank loan and a sun porch in return for supporting Commerce Bank in winning business with the City. Ron White and John Street, Mentors and Sponsors.

The Edwin W. Edwards Award for Innovation in Corrupt Practices. Given to the public servant who finds new ways of exploiting the power of their public position to realize a financial, material or political benefits.

The 2005 Innovation in Corrupt Practices Award is given to Pennsylvania Senator Vincent Fumo for his ability to win a $17 million donation from PECO Energy to Citizens Alliance for Better Neighborhoods, a non-profit corporation staffed by aids to the Senator, in exchange for dropping his opposition to a PECO merger and utility rate hikes. Fumo’s efforts have led to the formation of new non-profit corporations by other legislators, and new waves of corporate contributions are sure to follow.

The Robert Moses Unmitigated Gall Award. Given to the public servant who exercise of anti-competitive and corrupt practices on behalf of private interests shows brazen disregard for public admonition, conflicts of interest or the appearance of impropriety.

The 2005 Unmitigated Gall Award is given to Donald Rumsfeld, United States Secretary of Defense for his award of billions of dollars of no-bid contracts to the Halliburton Corporation, despite close financial connections with the administration, costs well in excess of those proposed by competing firms and conflicts of interest of cinematic proportions. Richard Cheney and George Bush, Mentors and Sponsors.

The Bill McCollum Irrelevance in Prosecution Award. Given to the law enforcement official or agency whose pursuit of justice moves off in pursuit of the trees while ignoring the forest around them.

The 2005 Irrelevance in Prosecution Award is given to the Philadelphia office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, whose prosecution of pay-to-play practices successfully assured the reelection of the administration under investigation, and after years of surveillance failed to achieve the indictment of a single politician of consequence in the city known as the home of municipal corruption in the United States.

About the Hughies. The Hughies awards have sought to recognize the enduring traditions of corrupt practices in local government in the United States.

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