Sunday, July 4, 2010

James Clyburn: Poster Child for Corruption

Suppose your congressman were about half as corrupt as South Carolina Congressman James Clyburn. Would you be pleased with that? To some of y’all, that may depend on how corrupt James Clyburn is.
I ask this question because, assuming that degrees of corruption may be measured along a bell-shaped curve, the average United States congressman is probably a little more than half as corrupt as James Clyburn. Of 435 members of the U.S. House of Representatives, only 50 congressmen have grafted more money for family and cronies than James Clyburn. Figured in dollars that congressional corruption is costing us, we may divide the cost of Clyburn’s corruption in half and multiply it by 535—the number of senators and “representatives” in the U.S. Congress. That’s at least how much it’s costing American taxpayers.
Of course, we’d have to add the cost of the Wall Street embezzlement bills, the Big Pharma/health insurance scams, and various other multi-trillion-dollar acts of collective congressional embezzlement. Only in Congress is the misappropriation of several million dollars considered, at worst, petty theft.
The Myrtle Beach (South Carolina) Sun News and other newspapers have been running articles on Congressman James Clyburn’s corruption. Clyburn’s excuses have been inconsistent.
In an interview, he said he saw nothing wrong with his graft. In 2008, the Sun News quoted him in a classic case of misdirection: “I have a bushel of family members. I earmark stuff for the State of South Carolina, and my daughter works for the state. I earmark stuff for Sumter, and several of my nieces and nephews work for Sumter. I’ve earmarked millions of dollars for I-73. Should I not do that because my son is an engineer with the highway department?”

Clyburn didn’t mention the $3 million earmarked for a golf course program named after Clyburn, although that program is already funded by Fortune 500 companies. He didn’t mention the two projects on which his nephew Derrick Ballard was one of the lead architects: one for $784,000 and one for $145,000. In the latter case, known as Five Rivers, executives faced 15 felony charges that they had stolen public money.
On July 3, 2010, all five executives pleaded guilty, were sentenced to five years in prison, and were ordered to pay restitution. (Click here for link.)
Regarding those two acts of graft, Clyburn said that he didn’t know that his nephew was involved. Excuse me, but what are the odds of that happening twice? I expect it’s about the same as a blindfolded man hitting the bulls-eye in a game of darts twice in a row. Oh, by the way, the Five Rivers community center that Ballard was paid for designing was never built. (Then his Uncle James used tax dollars to pay him for the $784,000 job.)
Here’s a quick run-down on just some of Clyburn’s nepotism:
$784,000: nephew (architect)
$145,000: same nephew
$69,663: same nephew (though this figure may refer only to his cut of the abovementioned $145,000.)
$229,000: daughter (marketing director at an obesity clinic)
$990,000: daughter (same as above—another bulls-eye twice in a row)
$282,000: sister-in-law (housing coordinator for a corporation)
$670,000: brother (trainer for YouthBuild program at a corporation)
$16,600: brother (consultant)
$2.5 million: brother, lobbyist for airport; the brother personally received $60,000.
$131,000: former aide
$250,000: same as above (yet another bulls-eye twice in a row)
$1.3 million: Benedict Shogaolu, a former business partner convicted of four felony charges.
(Notice how many of Clyburn’s business associates go to prison.)
(Click here)
It goes on and on.
More recently, the Charleston Post (reposted by the Sun News) reported that there’s now an investigation of the money Clyburn steered toward the James Clyburn Transportation Center of South Carolina State University. Of approximately $50 million allocated, several millions are missing. http://www.thesunnews.com/2010/07/02/1565525/clyburn-center-missing-millions.html
According to the Herald On-line, South Carolina state legislators are demanding an audit of South Carolina State University to determine what happened to the “missing millions.” Have they tried auditing Clyburn’s freezer? (Check it out.)
Recently, James Clyburn defended his actions, saying that the Constitution “mandated” his corrupt behavior. Last year, earmarks of this sort cost the taxpayers $17.2 billion. (Click here for the sordid details.)
James Clyburn makes a perfect poster boy for the American Action Report’s efforts to clean all the rats from Congress this November. If your congressman is only half as corrupt as James Clyburn, multiply that by 535 and see how much personal corruption in Congress is costing us. Check some of the Recommended Links at the top right corner of this page to find out if your congressman truly represents you.
I would like to thank the friend who sent me the links on James Clyburn. I would thank him by name, but I’d like for him to live a few more years. Chicago doesn’t have a monopoly on politically motivated murders.

Pray for wisdom in the 2010 congressional elections.
Click here: Light a Candle Endeavor

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