When ethics violation lead to criminal investigations
With the recent conflict of interest allegations being made against Bill Morneau regarding his sponsoring of a bill that would have changed pensions in Canada, however such bill could have been beneficial to Morneau’s company since he owns one of the country’s largest pension service providers.
The opposition was quick to point out the obvious conflict of interest, Morneau could easily benefit millions from changes to Canada’s pension plan, for this reason Morneau has met with the Ethics Commissioner but it doesn’t pass the smell test, this seems like Morneau is greasing his tracks. Taking care of himself and screwing the citizens. Pretty much the definition of government since the dawn of time.
This brings us to a case in the United States dubbed “Tennessee Waltz”, a two years FBI investigation into a major ethics breach in Tennessee.
In 2006 Federal Agents Arrest Four Legislators in Tennessee, FBI agents arrested Sen. Ward Crutchfield, (D) Chattanooga; Sen. John Ford, (D) Memphis; Sen. Kathryn Bowers, (D) Memphis; Rep. Chris Newton, (R) Cleveland.
The arrests were made based on indictments by a federal grand jury in Memphis.
According to the indictments, the suspects were accused of violating the Hobbs Act, which is a type of extortion, and of taking bribes to use their offices to help a company do business in Tennessee.
According to the FBI, the lawmakers accepted bribes from a fictitious undercover electronics company to sponsor legislation that would have helped the company make money.
The legislators sponsored or supported house bill 37 (bill 97 in the senate), which would have allowed the fake company to purchase surplus computer equipment from the state.
The undercover company was called E-Cycle Management, Inc., which was in the business of obtaining and disposing of outdated electronic equipment and sending it out of the U.S. for salvage, according to the indictments.
Ford was accused of accepting $55,000; Crutchfield was accused of taking $12,000; Bowers was accused of taking $11,500; Newton was accused of accepting $4,500; and Dixon was accused of taking $9,500.
Ford was also accused of threatening or intimidating a witness in connection with the investigation.
Those indicted could face up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for the extortion charge alone.