This just in from the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals:
“Despite the existence of a federal consent decree and other measures that for decades have sought to bring more transparency and legitimacy to the City of Chicago’s civil service hiring, patronage appointments have continued to flourish. These defendants were key players in a corrupt and far-reaching scheme, based out of the mayor’s Office of Intergovernmental Affairs, that doled out thousands of city civil service jobs based on political patronage and nepotism.The government alleged that the defendants concealed what they were doing by falsely assuring city lawyers that their hires were legitimate, and then shredding evidence and hiding their involvement once a criminal investigation began.
“After an eight-week jury trial, three of the defendants were convicted of mail fraud and the fourth of making materially false statements to federal investigators. The centerpiece of their appeal is a challenge to the government’s theory of prosecution: they contend that their behavior, while dubious, is not criminal, and that the honest services mail fraud statute is unconstitutionally vague.
“We conclude that the defendants’ actions do constitute mail fraud, and that the statute is not unconstitutionally vague as applied to the facts of this case.
“The defendants also argue that they did not deprive the city or the people of Chicago of any money or property, but the jobs that they wrongfully gave away were indeed a kind of property, so we reject this argument. Individual defendants also challenge the sufficiency of the indictment, the connection to the mails, and the sufficiency of the evidence against them, while one defendant argues that he was entitled to a sentencing adjustment for playing a minor role. Finding none of these arguments persuasive, we affirm on all counts.”
The best part of the decision comes next:
“The beating heart of this fraudulent scheme was the mayor’s Office of Intergovernmental Affairs (IGA). Formally, the office serves as a liaison between the City of Chicago and state and federal governments and has no role in hiring for the city’s 37,000 or so civil service jobs. Informally, the office coordinated a sizeable portion of the city’s civil service hiring, ferreting out jobs to footsoldiers in the mayor’s campaign organization and to other cronies.”
And the mayor marched on.