Tag Archives: Robert Sorich

The Devils in Durbin’s Details

A collection of noteworthy points, details and arguments from the Durbin-Ryan-commutation imbroglio that I haven’t yet had a chance to point out.

* “If Ryan is released early, he will have spent less time in prison than two friends convicted in the case – Ryan’s aide, Scott Fawell, who did the dirty work, and businessman Lawrence Warner, who profited from the dirty deals,” the Sun-Times notes in an editorial today.

* “Let’s also look at one of the main assertions on Ryan’s behalf, that he’s been punished enough in part because his government pension has already been taken away,” Mark Brown writes today.

“What they fail to mention is that he had already collected about $800,000 from his ridiculous $197,000-a-year pension before he was sent off to prison. How many of you can expect to collect $800,000 from a pension in your entire lifetime? Not many. It’s not our fault if he spent it all.”

Continue reading

Advertisements

An Axelrod to Grind

Amidst a boisterous exchange between Obama campaign strategist David Axelrod and McCain campaign manager Rick Davis on Fox News Sunday, Davis referred to an Op-Ed that Axelrod wrote in the Tribune in 2005 arguing in favor of patronage.

DAVIS: You even wrote an op-ed saying that you thought that the patronage politics of Chicago was a better model for Washington than the law and order model that we currently –

AXELROD: That is – I never – that is as untrue as everything else that you’ve said here. That is not what I said, Rick.

Is it?

The Op-Ed is no longer available online, but I have retrieved it from a newspaper database in order to take a look. The abstract:

A WELL-OILED MACHINE: A system that works? Political debts contribute to better city services. By David Axelrod, a Democratic political consultant whose clients include Mayor Richard Daley.

Fraudulent acts such as test-rigging are one thing. But if hiring of a qualified worker who comes recommended by a politician is treated as evidence of a criminal act, then [U.S. attorney Patrick Fitzgerald]’s approach will ensure that only applicants without political involvement are considered.

Axelrod wrote the Op-Ed in question just a month after Mayor Richard M. Daley’s patronage chief “was accused of systematically circumventing a decades-long federal ban on most political hiring by secretly directing top city managers to hire ‘preselected’ applicants favored by politicians and union officials,” as the Tribune reported.

“Mayor Richard Daley’s administration illegally doled out city jobs to reward campaign workers for the mayor and other politicians in a ‘massive fraud’ that spanned City Hall for more than a decade, federal prosecutors alleged Monday.”

A year later, Robert Sorich and three others were convicted. “I think what we saw in this case was the revealing of the Chicago machine, the inner workings of the Chicago machine,” said S. Jay Olshansky, the jury foreman. “There clearly is one. It has been in existence for quite some time.”

Judge David Coar later sentenced Sorich to 46 months in prison, saying “This offense is corruption with a capital ‘C’. There is nothing good about what you did. Frankly, I don’t give a hoot if this had been going on for the last 200 years – it stinks.”

Here’s Axelrod’s Op-Ed, followed by Obama’s response.

Continue reading

Seismic Events

At first I thought the earthquake I felt this morning meant that Emil Jones had moved HB 1.

At first I thought the earthquake I felt this morning was Robert Sorich flipping on Mayor Daley.

At first I thought the earthquake I felt this morning was the governor putting us out our misery and resigning.

But sometimes an earthquake is just an earthquake.

Daley Ducks

Is Mayor Daley a target of the federal investigation that just got a boost from the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals? It’s hard to imagine otherwise. Consider:

“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,” the appeals court said on Tuesday. “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.”

And the mayor knew nothing? Inconceivable.

Continue reading

Sorich Verdict Upheld

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.