Political Corruption Essay
Political corruption is a very dangerous phenomenon, since it violates the basic tenets of democratic governance. Our Constitution grants all citizens equality before law, and preferential treatment should not be given to anybody who can buy or coerce public officials into it. However, corruption remains a reality even in the world’s most developed countries. It can exist at all levels, from federal to municipal. In the city of New Orleans, corruption has existed historically and has not been eradicated yet. During the 19th century, prostitution and gambling flourished in the city. Political competition between Scalawags, the Southerners, and Carpetbaggers, the Northerners, also entailed a great deal of manipulation, corruption and cronyism (Gore, 2008).
In more recent times, the surge in corruption cases has happened after Hurricane Katrina struck the city. USA Today reports that between 2003 and mid-September 2007, almost two hundred people in the metropolitan area have been indicted for public corruption, such as bribery and fraud (Jervis, 2007). This should hardly elicit surprise, given that billions in federal assistance were channeled there in the aftermath of Katrina, and the temptation to misuse or embezzle this money was high. One of high-profile cases was that of Oliver Thomas, who sat on the New Orleans city council. He pleaded guilty to taking nearly $20,000 in bribes from a city hall vendor (Jervis, 2007). Another one is Glenn Haydel, Mayor Marc Morial’s uncle, who served as a manager of the Regional Transit Authority and was accused of diverting $550,000 in RTA funds into his person accounts (Gore, 2008).