“Politicians in prison garb,” headlined a recent Sun Sentinel editorial, “shake trust in government.”
It was not a fashion statement.
“What is it about a long career that makes some politicians — not all, let’s be clear about that — feel the rules don’t apply to them?” asked the paper, which serves Florida’s Broward and Palm Beach counties.
This week, after spending the last 24 years in Congress, former Rep. Corrine Brown (D-Fla.) began serving a five-year term in federal prison. Brown was convicted of 18 separate fraud and corruption counts stemming from her use of a public charity to benefit herself.
Not to be outdone, last week the FBI arrested Hallandale Beach Mayor Joy Cooper on various corruption charges following a six-year undercover sting operation. “From what is now known,” the editorial board judged “the case against Cooper” to be “devastating.”
There are taped conversations, reportedly, between FBI agents posing as “wealthy land owners [seeking] political favors” and the mayor, discussing pay (her) to play (with the city). At one point, undercover agents say a bribe was delivered to the mayor in “a Dunkin’ Donuts bag stuffed with $8,000 in cash and checks from people with a ‘bunch of Russian names.’”
“If not so tragic,” the paper wrote of the corruption, “it would be laughable to imagine Russians colluding to control the Hallandale Beach city election.”
Humor is needed, truly. Yet, the Sun Sentinel concluded instead that “term limits are needed in Hallandale Beach.”
And needed for Congress.
Now more than ever.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.