Charlotte Mayor Patrick Cannon on Feb. 6, 2014 in Charlotte, N.C.
Jared C. Tilton/Nascar/Getty

A rough week on the public corruption front

For a while, it seemed like the number of Republican officials caught up in various scandals – some ethical, some criminal, some just ugly – was growing at an alarming clip. Over the course of a several weeks, controversies of varying degrees of seriousness surrounded Chris Christie, Bob McDonnell, Trey Radel, Michael Grimm, Scott Walker, Pat McCrory, and others.
 
It’s apparently Democrats’ turn now.
Charlotte Mayor Patrick Cannon was arrested Wednesday on federal public corruption laws after a four-year investigation, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Charlotte announced.
 
Cannon was charged with theft and bribery after an FBI sting operation, said Anne Tompkins, U.S. attorney for the Western District of North Carolina.
 
FBI agents, working on a tip that Cannon, 47, was potentially involved in illegal activities, started an investigation in August 2010, Tompkins said in a statement.
Cannon, just five months into his term after 20 years on the Charlotte City Council, is accused of soliciting and accepting bribes from undercover FBI agents. A copy of the Justice Department’s allegations is available online here (pdf).
 
The mayor, however, is not alone on the list.
 
There are also recent developments in Rhode Island to consider.
Gordon D. Fox has submitted a letter to Secretary of State Ralph A. Mollis officially resigning from his position as speaker of the Rhode Island House of Representatives.
 
“Please be advised that I, Gordon D. Fox, of 11 Gorton Street, Providence, Rhode Island resign my position as Speaker of the House of Representatives effective immediately on this date,” the letter says.
 
Fox announced his intention to resign Saturday, a day after state and federal investigators searched his home and his State House office and seized numerous boxes of paperwork and other materials.
State Sen. Leland Yee of San Francisco has been detained after a series of raids by FBI and gang task force officials Wednesday, according to various media reports.
 
FBI agents searched Yee’s state Senate office Wednesday morning but declined to comment to The Times on the nature of their investigation. News photos showed Yee, a Democrat who is also running to be California’s secretary of state, in the backseat of a patrol car as he arrived at a federal courthouse in downtown San Francisco.
 
Dan Lieberman, Yee’s press secretary, told The Times his office would not comment on the FBI raids, which were reportedly linked to the arrest Wednesday morning of Raymond “Shrimp Boy” Chow.
FBI agents spent part of Wednesday morning in offices of Queens Assemblyman Bill Scarborough, multiple sources say.
 
The Democratic legislator said FBI agents questioned him this morning at an Albany hotel where he was staying. He said they implied there would be indictments. The investigation appears to focus on Scarborough’s travel vouchers.
Granted, none of these stories involve officials elected to statewide or federal offices, so the parallels to Christie, et al, are imprecise, but it’s not exactly helpful for Democrats to have quite this many policymakers get arrested in such a short span.
 

North Carolina and Scandals

A rough week on the public corruption front