Just when you thought that the cost of most items
ansd services have spiraled out of control in an
ever-rising vortex in this difficult economy,
neither fret nor fear, for one can still discover
some things to be had for bargain prices! One does
not have to go into hock in order to purchase a
politician to gain political favor, at least with a
certain local politician in Milwaukee.
Milwaukee County Supervisor Johnny L. Thomas,
a member of the county board since 2008, was
arrested and charged in an undercover sting
operation with accepting a bribe in exchange for
promoting a company on a county contract.
The price for Thomas' services? The low
low price of just $500! No, friends, that is
not a typo; no zeroes were accidentally omitted.
That was the actual sum of cash offered Thomas,
which he eagerly and cheerfully accepted.
On February 2 prosecutors filed the charges
against Thomas, who is still in his first term
as a county board member and was also running
for the office of Milwaukee City Comptroller
at the time of his arrest. Thomas was, in addition
to being charged with accepting a bribe, also
charged with misconduct in public office. Thomas
has since ended his campaign for the city's
comptroller post, a wise decision under the
circumstances. The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel
reported that Thomas also agreed to accept an
additional $500 in campaign contributions to
advance the contract. The charges against Thomas
also state that the day after taking the bribe he
added an item to his committee agenda to extend
the contract of the firm that he thought was
offering the money.
Now, what your bemused Peasant wants to know
is how, exactly, will Thomas' crime be regarded;
that is, will it be considered a case of petty larceny,
or will it be thought of as a case of Johnny Thomas
being America's cheapest politician on the take? While
it is sad to hear of a public official selling his integrity
for money, it is both sad and humorous (in a dark way)
to hear of one selling out for a knockdown price.
Does it make the corrupt office holder all the more
so when he tries to get a princely sum in exchange
for un-princely activity, while it makes him less
slimy when he makes his illicit actions available
for a discount? Personally, your beloved Peasant
holds that whenever a public official, be he elected
or appointed, sells favors that are not his to sell
then that official has tarnished both his office and
his reputation, as well as having eroded public
trust in not only himself but the governmental
body that he is a part of --- whatever his going rate
for going on the take.
We shall, in due course, see what fate the court has
in store for Mr. Thomas. May the court show both
copious wisdom and paltry mercy in deciding on
its sentence for this cut-rate crooked pol.