Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Chicago "Hired Truck" update

The latest and biggest guilty plea in Chicago's massive Hired Truck scandal:

Former Chicago city Clerk James Laski pleaded guilty Friday to taking bribes in return for getting friends business with the city's Hired Truck Program, making him the highest-ranking public official convicted in the ongoing investigation. ...
Laski admitted to taking $48,000 in payoffs.

Meanwhile, trial is delayed for Laski's top aide:

After denying a motion by defense attorneys to push back the April 17 trial date of Sam Gammicchia earlier this month, U.S. District Judge Charles Norgle on Monday decided to grant a new motion seeking the continuance after the defense said it could not hear clearly what was said on government-recorded tapes, which could be used as evidence, according to a court clerk.
The Hired Truck scandal, one of the most mind-boggling municipal corruption schemes since the Tweed Ring, has gotten little coverage outside the Midwest. You never see it on the national TV news, even though Rep. Rahm Emanuel -- chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee -- was elected with the illegal help of an "army" of city workers controlled by the corrupt Daley machine.

It's amazing how consistent corrupt Democrats are in their defense strategy. In Atlanta, ex-Mayor Bill Campbell's attorneys played the race card. In Chicago, they're playing the Hispanic card:
Al Sanchez said he wasn't interested in talking about the Hired Truck or the patronage hiring scandals he left behind in the Streets and Sanitation Department. ...
Sanchez stepped down as Mayor Richard Daley's top Streets and San man in June. But it's election time again, and Sanchez very much remains a player in the local political game.
No longer responsible for clearing Chicago's snow, Sanchez is free to focus on a heated state legislative race that could give the first indication of whether the City Hall corruption scandals have weakened Daley's staunchest Hispanic allies.
Sanchez is helping state Sen. Martin Sandoval (D-Chicago) as he seeks to weather a spirited challenge in Tuesday's primary. The race in Sandoval's 12th District is the main battleground in the power struggle between the pro-Daley Hispanic Democratic Organization and critics who blast the HDO as corrupt mayoral lackeys. ...

HDO defenders say the City Hall corruption cases have been unfairly portrayed as "Hispanic scandals."
Wait a minute: Is "Daley" a Hispanic name? Maybe I overlooked something, and Dan Mihalopoulos of the Chicago Tribune is similarly puzzled:
But the defendants in the hiring fraud case who are scheduled to face trial later this year have the definitely non-Latino surnames of Sorich, McCarthy, Sullivan and Slattery. And the only HDO-connected inmate among the dozens convicted to date is Angelo Torres, who directed the Hired Truck Program.
Still, it has become clear that federal authorities have HDO leader and former Daley aide Victor Reyes in their sights. When agents got a search warrant to raid the mayor's office last year, they cited witnesses who placed Reyes at the center of the illegal hiring scheme. Reyes has not been charged and denies wrongdoing.
Right: Nobody is being investigated for being Hispanic. They're being investigated for being corrupt. But playing on ethnic loyalty is a very old Democratic trick. Irish Catholics were the earliest and most durable of immigrant ethnic groups drawn into the Democratic fold like this, going back to the Civil War era. After the war, guys like "Big Tom" Foley and "Big Tim" Sullivan of Tammany Hall famously controlled the Irish vote in New York, as we explain in Chapter 3 of DONKEY CONS:
In the 1892 election, Tammany put young Sullivan in charge of the Lower East Side; the vote in Big Tim's precinct was 395 for Democrat Grover Cleveland to 4 for Republican Benjamin Harrison. Sullivan was outraged: "Harrison got one more vote than I expected, but I'll find that feller."
Irish votes were key to the big Democratic political machines in many U.S. cities. As newer immigrant groups -- Italians, Poles, Jews, Greeks, Serbs, etc. -- poured into American cities between 1880 and 1920, they too were organized by the Democratic machines. By the early 1900s, the Irish bosses of Tammany relied on Jewish and Italians gangsters -- Monk Eastman's gang among them -- as muscle in their brutal electioneering campaigns.

The Democratic machines were sort of a ladder of upwardly-mobile corruption for immigrants. Patronage jobs, corrupt officials, bribery: The newer immigrants entered this pyramid of graft at the bottom, and worked their way up over the decades. Grandpa Kelly who stepped off the boat in 1870 was a laborer and Tammany ward-heeler, his son became a precinct captain and saloon keeper, and by the 1930s, the grandson was a crooked judge or corrupt city councilman -- the American Dream!

This system was alway based on convincing immigrants that the Republicans were their enemies. If you voted Republican in 1864, this proved you were anti-Irish. If you voted Republican in 1894, this proved you hated Italians. If you voted Republican in 1924, you were an anti-Semite, and so on up to the present age, where voting Republican is portrayed by Chicago Democrats as hatred of Hispanics. It's all a scam, of course, but standard operating procedure for corrupt Democrats.

Which reminds me ... here's an update about Rahm Emanuel, courtesy of Robert Novak, who points out that the DCCC boss has a big stake in the Illinois Democratic primary race in the 6th Congressional District:
If Christine Cegelis (D) wins this race, it could be the most embarrassing day of DCCC Chairman Rahm Emanuel's (D-Ill.) life so far, a clear sign that his political skills are overrated.
Emanuel, who represents an adjacent district,
spent months looking for someone to prevent Cegelis from becoming the candidate.
He eventually settled on Iraq veteran Tammy Duckworth (D), who does not live in the district and apparently lacks grassroots support there. He helped her raise hundreds of thousands of dollars in a very short period of time, and pitched Duckworth's life story to every sympathetic reporter he could find in Washington, to great fundraising effect. But the question is how effectively all that money and all that press can be used at such a late stage to turn out the Democratic vote in this Republican district.
Cegelis has harnessed resentment at the national Democrats' interference. Despite the fact that she desperately lacks money, she has strong grassroots support, and her signs dot lawns across the district.
This one will be very close. The winner, whoever it is, will begin the general election almost bankrupt, far behind Republican candidate, State Sen. Pete Roskam (R).
"Almost bankrupt"? Sounds kind of like Howard Dean's DNC operation. I wonder if George Soros and his billionaire buddies are ever going to figure out why they keep giving and giving, and Democrats keep losing and losing. (When you're giving campaign contributions to support a party so thoroughly corrupt, you'd think you might ask for an independent audit once in a while.) But I guess Soros is just the latest example of how some immigrants always fall for the Democrats' scam.

Previously on CHICAGO:
2/18: Hire 'em all!
2/4: "Culture of Corruption"


DONKEY CONS: About the book