Monday, April 17, 2006

The train has left the station…

It was announced today that the jury in the George Ryan federal corruption case found him guilty on all charges. Ouch. From the NYT

… George Ryan, the former governor of Illinois who drew international notice by emptying his state's death row, was convicted today of all charges brought against him in a sweeping federal corruption case.

After more than five months of sometimes complicated testimony in his federal case, and after five weeks of still more tangled deliberations, a jury convicted Mr. Ryan, a Republican, of granting state business to associates in exchange for cash and presents for himself, his family and for his friends. …

Corruption is always a part of the political culture; elected officials, particularly powerful elected officials, function in a world where everyone is solicitous and deferential to their sensibilities. Not healthy & not normal, but it’s the way the world works.

I don’t believe that politicians are bad people; rather it’s a mix of expectations and environments that leads some, like George Ryan, to become poor judges of character and situations. I am not sure how you avoid this sort of problem, although I’d start by putting Bill Swanson’s rule number 32 into practice on a daily basis.

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