Monday, September 29, 2008

Corruption, cronyism, and the politics of Sarah Palin

By Michael J.W. Stickings

An AP investigation has found that "[t]hough Sarah Palin depicts herself as a pit bull fighting good-old-boy politics, in her years as mayor she and her friends received special benefits more typical of small-town politics as usual."

There are simply too many examples of corruption and cronyism to repeat here. Many of them are fairly small-time, but they fit in with the pattern we've seen so far, the pattern that includes Troopergate and her lobbying to secure earmarks both for Wasilla and for Alaska.

Read the whole piece.


AOL's David Knowles adds this:

We know that as Governor, she hired underqualified friends to run state programs at salaries far above those in the private sector. We know that she used her authority to pressure the firing of a former relative, and fired a commissioner who defied her. We know that she is actively obstructing the investigation into the matter. We know she has repeatedly lied about her initial support for the "Bridge to Nowhere." These are not isolated events. They show a pattern of corruption.

And it isn't just Palin, of course.

Whatever his reputation as a maverick reformer, the reality is that McCain has a long history of questionable ties to certain industries -- telecom, alcohol, gaming, etc. -- that supported him financially and that, as a senator, he was responsible for regulating (or de-regulating), notably as chairman of the Commerce and Indian Affairs Committee.

For more on this, see this piece from Saturday's NYT on McCain's ties to gambling: "McCain portrays himself as a Washington maverick unswayed by special interests, referring recently to lobbyists as 'birds of prey.' Yet in his current campaign, more than 40 fund-raisers and top advisers have lobbied or worked for an array of gambling interests -- including tribal and Las Vegas casinos, lottery companies and online poker purveyors."

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