"What's black and white and read all over?"

Tuesday, April 04, 2006
Posted 10:04 AM by

DeLay-ing tactics don't work for bribery

Hobbled by a bribery conviction and a bum leg, Philly city councilman Rick Mariano gave up his taxpayer-funded car Monday but still clings to the back of his council chair and his $102,000 salary.Philadelphia city councilman Rick Mariano should take a few lessons from U.S. Rep. Tom Delay and resign.

DeLay, the former House Majority Leader, quit today even before he faces trial on bribery charges, instead of facing re-election with that sword of Damocles over his head.

Mariano is already convicted of bribery and turned in his taxpayer-funded car yesterday, but refuses to yield his council seat and its $102,000 salary.

What's it going to take, former state Rep. Tom Druce running over Rick in a taxpayer-funded Jeep to get him to give it up?

Sure, Pennsylvania law says Mariano can stay until his June 6 sentencing. But laws can be changed, what's right and what's proper is immutable. I know it may not make sense to somebody who sold his office to the highest bidder, but there is such a thing known as honor.

Of course, in DeLay's case, he's leaving with the knowlege that the gerrymeandering (sic) of Texas his bribes afforded virtually guarantees that a Republican will replace him.

Nothing like his former deputy chief of staff, Tony Rudy, cutting a plea bargain last week to force his hand.

"I refuse to allow liberal Democrats an opportunity to steal this seat with a negative personal campaign," DeLay said.

And for that, John Boehner, R-Ohio, DeLay's successor as House GOP Leader, thanked him for taking one for the team. "He has served our nation with integrity and honor," Boehner effused.


Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay is quitting with a smile, knowing his political chicanery paid for by bribes will enable another Republican to get elected to his seat.Replace the word "nation" with party and the words "integrity and honor" with "guile and deceit" and Boehner might be partly right.

Lesson number two for Mariano: If he had used his bribes for politics instead of paying down credit card debt, all might have been forgiven - just so long as he didn't use his staff to do campaign work like former state Rep. Jeff Habay.

Finally, Rick should have heeded his third lesson from Gettysburg's council, which voted 7-3 Monday night to support a proposed slot-machine gambling parlor near the historic Civil War battlefield in exchange for a $1 million-per-year revenue guarantee.

While opponents - among them historic preservationists - call the cash "a bribe," Council President Ted Streeter said it would help the borough improve its police capabilities and social services to deal with an influx of millions of gamblers and potentially reduce property taxes.

"If that's selling out, I gladly plead guilty," Streeter told a packed borough meeting hall during more than 90 minutes of debate and public comment.

So you see, if Rick had turned the bribes over to the city treasurer's office and called it a new funding stream, that would have been fine too.

Who knows, he might have even made enough to pay for the Ford Taurus he returned yesterday.


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