Jontel Kassidy, Senior Capital Correspondent
While commenting on Blago’s prison sentence, U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald repeated what has become for him a common theme: Illinois citizens are responsible for stopping corruption by reporting it to the authorities.
In the longer video of his comments aired by NBC News Chicago, in response to a reporter’s question (1:16 into the clip), Fitz says (beginning at 1:34) that there needs to “…be a change in the public’s attitude. People seem resigned to corruption at times and…they’re afraid to say ‘no’ when someone in power asks them for something they shouldn’t. The people in power should be afraid to ask.”
So, Fitz’s solution is for citizens who are approached to give cash, benefits and favors in exchange for some consideration by corrupt officials, should run and tell the authorities – the federal, state, county and local police, and the various prosecutorial agencies.
That’s The Fitz’s Solution. It has several weaknesses.
1. To whom do citizens report corruption when their trust in the authorities is – to be kind – less than complete?
It’s an exaggerated comparison, but what were the consequences to citizens who reported corruption in East Germany to the Stasi? Only if the corruption wasn’t, in some way, sanctioned by the state, were the consequences anything but negative to the citizen.
2. Much of the corruption in Illinois pay-to-play shakedowns happens at a small business level. A three-trucks plumbing contractor submits a bid on a public housing project. The sub-contractor is told that a modest political donation to a particular politician would considerably enhance his chances of being awarded the contract. Suppose it’s a federally funded project.
Is the States’ Attorney’s office going to launch an investigation after the Plumbing contractor reports the shakedown? When billions are involved, what resources will be used to address, say, an alleged $3,000 bribe? Garden variety graft, events that don’t reach the level of the $14 billion that Blago cost the taxpayers of Illinois, is so widespread that there just aren’t enough policing and prosecutorial resources to stem a crime wave like that underway in Illinois.
3. In a culture steeped in corruption like Crook County, kickbacks and greased palms have been going on for so long, so successfully, and with such impunity that Fitz’s suggestion that the authorizes are ready to aggressively prosecute the crooks that citizens report is flat goofy.
The “change of attitude” Fitz’s preaches has to start with the agencies tasked to enforce laws.
To blame the people is to blame the victims.
The Fitz Solution is like saying that the people of Russia are responsible for the corruption of the Putin regime. They voted him in, after all.
That the Jews in 1933 Germany were responsible for the horror the Nazis delivered on them. They should have reported the injustices to the German Courts.
That innocent Mexican civilians are responsible for the violence of the drug traffickers along the border. After all, the violence couldn’t happen without the victims’ complicity (and, in some cases, that of the U.S. Department of Justice for selling guns to the cartels!).
It’s patently absurd when a high profile “crime fighter” – or the “Exterminator,” as John Kass calls him – blames the victims.
Patrick Fitzgerald: Intrepid Crime Fighter? Or, Politically-Driven Leaker? The Regime’s Undertaker (Part 7)
Hugo Floriani, Investigative Reporter
When the Obama Regime wants a story buried who does Eric Holder’s Department of Selective Justice call? Fitz, the Undertaker. For example…
Fitz’s Alleged Investigation into the John Adam’s Project
On March 19, 2010, Newsweek (linked by The Daily Beast) was among the MSM outlets that ever-so-briefly reported that “Holder Taps Fitzgerald for Gitmo Photo Probe.”
“Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. has tapped the Justice Department's most feared [reinforcing the Untouchable Myth] prosecutor, Patrick Fitzgerald, to lead a sensitive investigation into whether defense lawyers at Guantánamo Bay compromised the identities of covert CIA officers. The probe was triggered by the discovery last year of about 20 color photographs of CIA officials in the cell of Mustafa Ahmed al-Hawsawi, an alleged financier of the 9/11 attacks, say three current and former government officials who asked not to be identified talking about an ongoing case.”
The subject of the alleged investigation was the ACLU’s John Adam’s Project. Don’t remember it? That’s understandable. It only briefly popped up on the lame stream media’s radar, and then – presto – it vanished.
FOX’s Bill O’Reilly covered the story at the time.
O’Reilly followed up in this interview with conservative pundit Ann Coulter.
It seems there was, and probably still is, a dispute between the Regime and the CIA. On May 27, 2010, in a piece written by Marc Thiessen for the Journal of the American Enterprise Institute, Thiessen stated,
“The Justice Department reportedly clashed with the CIA over investigating the John Adams Project—with the CIA complaining that Justice did not take seriously enough the threat the ACLU’s actions posed to CIA officials.
The Left is—of course—up at arms over the Miller amendment, calling it a “McCarthyite attack” on the al Qaeda lawyers and criticizing House Democrats for going along with the amendment.” [Follow the links for details]
That would, of course, be the same “Left” that heralded Fitz’s dogged pursuit of the leaker in the Valerie Plame case, long after Richard Armitage confessed.
The question is: In the last 19 months what’s become of the Undertaker’s dogged pursuit of the truth in the John Adam’s Project? Answer: Zip, zero, nada. It’s been buried by an administration politically amenable to the project’s objectives – i.e., exposing the identities of the CIA interrogators of terrorists. Buried by Fitz, the Regime’s Undertaker.
Patrick Fitzgerald: Intrepid Crime Fighter? Or, Politically-Driven Leaker? On Sharing Information with the USAO (Part 6)
Hugo Floriani, Investigative Reporter
Patrick Fitzgerald has, on several public occasions, encouraged citizens with knowledge of corruption to come forward and tell his office what they know. It’s only with their help, he has said, that the USAO can clean up corruption in Crook County.
Okay. Well, here’s a test of that exhortation.
Let’s say, hypothetically, you knew of someone associated with the legal team that represented a former business associate – oh, say, a bean counter (BC) – who’d done work for a high-dollar fund raiser facing possible indictment by a Grand Jury for allegedly being a Bag Man (BM) for a state-level politician.
Now, suppose also, that you learned that this someone made sure that BC (who was scheduled to testify before a Grand Jury as a witness in a complaint against BM) received past due payment for services BC had once provided BM. Let’s say BC preformed miraculous accounting services.
Now, of course, this payment wasn’t a bribe.* Of course not! Just a late payment for past services rendered that just happened to come in the midst of BM’s Grand Jury saga. Pure coincidence. Read along, nothing to see here.
Now, imagine you knew that another person, a person of note within the U.S. Attorney’s office, had learned of this payment, but brought no charges against that someone close to BC’s legal team, for, what some might construe as…well, maybe not technically tampering with a witness (Title 18 U.S.C. section 1512), but something highly inappropriate.
Now, in this purely hypothetical example, where any relationship to anyone living or dead is purely coincidental, would you pass that information to the USAO and expect anything to come of it? Knowing that office’s proclivity to leak?
Not unless you’d been dropped on your head once and never fully recovered.
* Oh, BTW, speaking of bribes, on April 18, 2006, in an article reporting on the conviction of former Illinois Governor George Ryan, The New York Times quoted Fitzgerald concerning bribes.
"People now know that if you're part of a corrupt conduct, where one hand is taking care of the other and contracts are going to people, you don't have to say the word 'bribe' out loud," Mr. Fitzgerald said. "And I think people need to understand we won't be afraid to take strong circumstantial cases into court."
Hat tip: John Chase, Chicago Tribune