I found the following story at Fox News.com, but being an Associated Press story, it’s already made it’s way from sea to rising sea.
Here’s the link:
Corruption Rampant in Pennsylvania Coal Country
Coal? What the fudge? Like, coal was king before I was born. Coal was dethroned and beheaded before I was born. What's up with the oft-used but thoroughly tired coal bit already?
Here’s an excerpt:
WILKES-BARRE, Pa. — After a six-year run in the NFL, Greg Skrepenak came home to Pennsylvania and parlayed his name recognition and hometown popularity into a seat on the Luzerne County Board of Commissioners.
He'd campaigned as a reformer. It turns out he was anything but. Prosecutors charged him last month with accepting $5,000 in gifts from a developer seeking public financing of a condominium project. He is scheduled to plead guilty on Tuesday.
Another day, another fallen politician in the coal fields of northeastern Pennsylvania, where FBI agents and federal prosecutors have spent the past year rooting out government corruption in a hardscrabble region known for its pay-to-play politics, suspicion of outsiders and resistance to political change.
Twenty-three people in Luzerne County — including a school superintendent, three county judges, four courthouse officials, and five school board members — have been charged so far in a variety of unrelated schemes.
Anyway, that’s not the fun part. Here’s the fun part…
Most of the charges filed over the past year involve public officials accepting cash or gifts — a $1,500 suit, for example — in exchange for helping contractors win government work or some other benefit. A few officials are charged with the outright theft of taxpayer dollars. The FBI is also looking into allegations that candidates for public school teaching positions paid bribes to school board members to land jobs.
"Things have been like this for so long that I don't think many people see a lot of wrong in what they've done," said Skrepenak, 39, a former offensive lineman who played for the Oakland Raiders and Carolina Panthers in the 1990s.
"I believe any elected official of the last five years is at risk" of prosecution, he added. "I don't think many of them truly know what they can and cannot do."
You know, enough with the feigned ignorance already!
I learned this lesson as a 20-year-old assistant manager getting his first taste of inventorying and ordering. If a sales rep offers you a premium--a radio, a television or what have you--provided that you order X number of hundreds of cases of a premium product per year from his company exclusively, that is a bribe. And as it was, it was strictly forbidden by company policy.
If I benefit as a result of an order placed with any purveyor, but there’s really no benefit to the company or it’s customers, that’s my first hint that it‘s unethical.
I knew that at 20. I knew that before I could grow a full beard. I knew that before MTV launched on Peace’s 2nd birthday.
Does this guy honestly believe that we’re stupid enough to fall for this line of deceitful thought, that the great preponderance of the recently indicted didn’t know what they were up to wouldn’t pass the legal smell test?
That’s insulting, that’s infuriating and that’s just flat-out poppycock.
And with that, I’m of the opinion that arrogance is running just as rampant in Culm County as is corruption.
Call it what you will, Greg, but a bribe is a bribe is a bribe.
You knew, Skrep. You knew.