Thursday, May 11, 2006

F.B.I.'s Focus on Public Corruption Includes 2,000 Investigations - New York Times

F.B.I.'s Focus on Public Corruption Includes 2,000 Investigations - New York Times:
WASHINGTON, May 10 — A post-9/11 effort by the F.B.I. to concentrate on public corruption now includes more than 2,000 investigations under way, highlighted by the Jack Abramoff lobbying inquiry, the racketeering and fraud conviction of former Gov. George Ryan of Illinois, and the multipronged corruption probes after the guilty plea by Randy Cunningham, a former Republican House member from San Diego, bureau officials said.

As one of the Bush administration's least known anticrime efforts, the F.B.I. initiative has yielded an unexpectedly rich array of cases. The results suggest that wrongdoing by public officials at all levels of government is deeply rooted and widespread. Several of the highest profile cases in which the F.B.I. played an active role involve Republicans.

Bureau officials believe that the investment in corruption cases is easily worth the cost. In 2004 and 2005, more than 1,060 government employees were convicted of corrupt activities, including 177 federal officials, 158 state officials, 360 local officials and 365 police officers, according to F.B.I. statistics. The number of convictions rose 27 percent from 2004 to 2005.

In a telephone interview on Wednesday, the F.B.I. director, Robert S. Mueller III, said the bureau was uniquely positioned to investigate corruption. Recalling his days as a prosecutor in Boston, he said: 'Having prosecuted public corruption cases, you come to realize first of all that public corruption tears the fabric of a democratic society. You lose faith in public officials, it leads to cynicism, it leads to distrust in government.'

[emphasis mine]
You can say that again! What I want to know is, when are all these investigations going to stop being investigations and start being indictments and trials?! Come on, already! Start charging these despots and make it count!

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