The Corruption League of America #2

by Jackie_South on January 23, 2014

dollar photo2

Last week, we launched our Corruption League of America. We will be looking at the 50 States of the USA, plus the District of Columbia throughout 2014 to see which is the dodgiest of the lot. Time for this week’s update!

In our first post of this series, New Jersey was the first state off the blocks as Governor Chris Christie squirmed under the spotlight of Bridgegate – the relevation that some of Christie’s office arranged a four day traffic jam on the George Washington Bridge as vindictive payback for the mayor of Fort Lee refusing to endorse the governor for re-election. Suspicion remains about just how much Christie actually knew about this act of spite.

This week, another story has emerged about Christie throwing his weight around inappropriately, involving another New Jersey suburb of New York sitting on the Hudson River. Hoboken’s mayor Dawn Zimmer has alleged that after Hurricane Sandy two of the governor’s most senior lieutenants – his deputy governor and a cabinet member – tried to trade federal hurricane aid money (i.e. money given to the state by the US government to help in the wake of Sandy) for the city lobbying for money for a redevelopment project by a company linked indirectly to Christie.

Zimmer refused, and so despite the fact that Hoboken was one of the worst hit places in the state by the hurricane (80 percent of the city was flooded) it has only received $6 per head of population, only 1% of what the city requested.

Of course, once one scandal comes out, other similar ones will crawl out from under the rocks.  But two different scandals in the Garden State in one month, both where the governor’s office appear to have abused their power, is quite impressive. That keeps them at the top of our league over all, and at the top of our North Eastern states table below:

NE table 2

But New Jersey are not the only ones at it. In my first post, I identified four regional champions: New Jersey in the North East, Illinois in the Mid-West, Nevada in the West and Louisiana in the South.

Louisiana has some competition. Virginia is not a big league player usually in the corruption stakes, partly because its Democrats seem pretty squeaky clean. No governor of the Old Dominion from either party has ever been indicted for a crime committed in office.

Until now: Bob McDonnell, was the state’s Republican governor until a fortnight ago, when Democrat Terry McAuliffe took over. On Tuesday, McDonnell and his wife Maureen were indicted on federal corruption charges, on fourteen different counts. The allegations are that they took $135,000 in gifts, loans, trips and other items from Johnny Williams, the chief executive of a pharmaceutical company.

That takes Virginia to the top of our Southern regional chart – I’m only giving it one point so far despite the fourteen charges, this might change as the story develops. Come on, Louisiana, pull your socks up!

South table

Finally, that leaves our over all table like this, with New Jersey storming ahead (if you forgive the pun) and Virginia breaking its duck.

US table 2

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