October 16, 2005

Democratic "Culture of Corruption"? - Part III

In honor of Howard Dean's declaration that the Tom Delay indictment proved some sort of a "Republican Culture of Corruption" exists, I present part III in my examination of the "Democratic Culture of Corruption".

Former Representative Frank Ballance, a Democratic state legislator, has been sentenced to prison:

Former Rep. Frank Ballance was sentenced Wednesday to four years in prison for conspiring to divert taxpayer money to his law firm and family through a charitable organization he helped start. Ballance, 63, a longtime state legislator before being elected to Congress, has until Dec. 30 to turn himself in, U.S. District Court Judge Terrence Boyle ruled.

Ballance also agreed to repay $61,917.25 and to forfeit $203,000 in a bank escrow account in the name of the John A. Hyman Memorial Foundation. The forfeited funds will be returned to North Carolina taxpayers, prosecutor Dennis Duffy said.

"I want to apologize to my family and all the people I represent for what, I call them mistakes, but they were violations of the law," Ballance said in court before he was sentenced....Ballance resigned from Congress in June 2004, citing ill health, without completing his first term.
Before then, between 1994 and 2003, he channeled $2.3 million in state money to the nonprofit Hyman Foundation he operated to help poor people fight drug and alcohol abuse, according to a 51-page indictment the government filed in September 2004.

Ballance forged the foundation director's signature on state money requests and diverted foundation money from the Vance NAACP to pay a $15,500 legal bill in a criminal case and more than $69,000 in rent to his church, which housed the foundation's office, according to the indictment.

In many cases, Duffy said, Ballance hid the financial trail by moving money from the Hyman Foundation to another nonprofit or charitable group before it wound up benefiting family or supporters. Ballance also used his legislative position to intimidate state employees to look the other way when the Hyman Foundation failed for years to provide an accounting of how its funds were spent as required by the state, Duffy said.

As mentioned before, corruption exists on both sides of the aisle. To Democrats, I, once again, say, "do you really want to get into this argument?" There really are no winners to such an argument in politics.

Hat Tip: NoAgenda.Org.

Previous posts:

Democratic Culture of Corruption - Part II
Democratic Culture of Corruption - Part I
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