COMMENTARY: Black Politicians – Corrupt Or Unjustly Targeted?

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In 2005, Nagin appeared on “The Tom Joyner Morning Show” and responded to criticism that he didn’t move fast enough to evacuate families out of the city. “Even if I used those buses we had available, we needed at least 1,200, and we only had a couple hundred buses,” Nagin said. “And we didn’t have enough drivers.”

Nagin’s flaw wasn’t being too slow to help the residents of New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina — his mistake was stuffing his pockets with illegal cash while Black folks in his city were struggling to survive. That’s a crime. Sadly, Nagin is part of a growing list of greedy Black elected leaders who have succumbed to bribes and corruption. Are Black politicians being investigated more often by federal officials? Or are they just more corrupt? Well, it’s now proven that Nagin is shady – and he’s not alone.

Former Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick is serving 28 years in federal prison on 24 felony counts, including corruption, mail fraud and racketeering. Former U.S. Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. is currently serving 30 months in federal lockup for corruption.

Former D.C. City Councilman Michael Brown (the late Ron Brown’s son) was sentenced to 39 months in prison for taking a bribe. Monica Conyers, a former Detroit city councilwoman and the wife of U.S. Rep. John Conyers, served 37 months in prison for conspiracy and taking a bribe. She still owes $50,000 to upscale retailer Neiman Marcus. Former Prince George’s County Executive Jack Johnson is serving a seven year federal prison sentence for extortion.

The Washington Post reported the following events that led to Johnson’s arrest:

Two FBI agents were at the front door of their two-story brick colonial in Mitchellville.  “Don’t answer it,” the county executive said, unaware that more agents were listening in. 

Johnson ordered his wife to find and destroy a $100,000 check from a real estate developer that was hidden in a box of liquor. 

“Do you want me to put it down the toilet?” Leslie Johnson asked. 

“Yes, flush that,” the county executive said.

But what about the cash? she asked – $79,600. 

Put it in your underwear, the county executive told his wife. 

She replied, “I have it in my bra” – which is where agents discovered the cash.

Shameful. Are Black politicians disproportionately investigated and disproportionately set up in law enforcement sting operations? Perhaps. But they still take the bait.

What do you think?

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