Tomorrow is Election Day — although years that end in one, three, five, seven and nine should officially be called “Off-Year Election Day” considering that few major offices are up for grabs these years and few people actually turn out to vote for them.
Because of meager voter involvement, councilmen, state assemblymen and senators, and even governors think that there will be equally low scrutiny during their tenure in office, which leads to some entertainingly brazen crimes and ensuing scandals.
Here are our 15 favorite dumb local political scandals…
John F. Thompson was an Original Gangsta of modern political corruption, doing the banking industry’s bidding back when it wasn’t even cool to do it. In 1964, the Massachusetts House Speaker was indicted on bribery and conspiracy charges, but he died before the case could go to trial. Or did he? Maybe he and Tupac are in hiding together, planning the next big scandal.
2) John V. Kenny
If you’re going to be the mayor of Jersey City, apparently you need to stress the Jersey part and run your city like you’re Tony Soprano. Kenny thought big and he was convicted in 1971 for creating a multi-million dollar political kickback scheme. That’s insane considering the entire Jersey City budget was only in the tens of millions back then.
3) Daniel P. Gordon
Where do we start with Danny boy? This Rhode Island state representative was never vetted by the state Republican party or by his opponents, for if they had, they would have known he had served five months in the joint for attempting to kill his girlfriend. While serving in the house, he was arrested for a DWI and blamed it on PTSD he got while serving in the Gulf War. Nope. A quick check on that found he was as close to combat there as you and I were here. Of course, he didn’t serve in jail because our justice system makes no sense, but at least he wasn’t re-elected.
This New York State Senator did what many politicians have done to land their asses in jail: divert public money into his campaign coffers. But first he was accused of brutally assaulting his girlfriend and only after the combination of the two came to light did the State Senate officially expel him.
5) Vince Fumo
The congressman in Pennsylvania’s first district before Mr. Fumo went to jail on corruption charges back in 1978, but not to worry… Mr. Fumo picked up right where Buddy Cianfrani left off and was finally convicted of 137 federal corruption charges in 2009. This is why Philadelphia can’t have nice things.