For $500,000, Ray Nagin sold his dignity. Sentenced recently to ten years in prison, Nagin sold his influence cheap. He probably knows what it is worth.
For all the ego-stroking, chest-thumping and stupidity that Nagin engaged in during his term as New Orleans Mayor, Nagin is a rookie when it comes to playing in the big leagues of politicians who have been caught selling their soul — and political office — for gain.
Nagin had a good role model. Former Louisiana Governor, Edwin Edwards was convicted of extortion and money laundering in 2001 and started serving his sentence in 2002. Edwards was released from Federal Prison in 2011 and went on to star in his own reality show: “The Governor’s Wife” in February 2014. Unashamed for his very public corruption and fall from grace, Edwards has petitioned US President Barack Obama for a pardon so that Edwards can run in the upcoming governor election. So far, Obama has not returned Edwards’ calls.
Louisiana doesn’t have a monopoly on greed, crooked politicians. Pick a state, any state, and you will find at least one tale of an elected official that, maybe honest when they got into office, soured on integrity once they took their seat in government.
California State Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi picked up $2,400 worth of merchandise from a Neiman Marcus store in her district and she was given a $180 fine along with three years probation.
Colorado’s Douglas Bruce was caught and convicted on four counts of criminal activity at the federal level, money laundering, tax fraud and, if that wasn’t enough, Bruce attempted to improperly influence a public official. Bruce spent just six months in jail and paid a measly $49,000 in fines.
Jim Greer, Chairman of the Republican Party of Florida was sent to the big house for 18 months after he pleaded guilty to four counts of theft and a single count of money laundering. How much did Greer stick in his pocket? Just over $200,000.
Former Missouri Governor, Roger Wilson, was fined $2000 and placed on probation for money laundering. Not bad considering that Wilson was originally faced with a year in federal prison and fines totaling $100,000.
New York City Council member, Larry Seabrook, was indicted on 13 counts of money laundering, extortion, and fraud. The jury didn’t buy his not-guilty argument and they tossed him into the big house where he is halfway through a five-year sentence.
North Carolina State Representative Stephen LaRoque was supposed to redirect loans from the US Department of Agriculture to small business owners in the state’s rural areas. Instead, he slid $300K into his pocket. Convicted on twelve counts of theft, money laundering and turning in false tax returns, LaRoque has gotten a little breathing room. In August 2013, a juror’s misbehavior caused a mistrial and Senior District Court Judge Howard has ordered a new trial.
Alabama’s State Senator, Edward McClain was convicted in January 2009. McClain was charged with 48 counts of money laundering, mail fraud, bribery, and conspiracy. Needless to say, McClain lost his cushy job because of his conviction.
Birmingham, Alabama’s mayor, Larry Langford, went before the judge in March 2005 and was sentenced to 15 years in prison for conspiracy, bribery, money laundering, and fraud. Besides the 15 years that he’ll be a guest of the state, Langford also has to come up with over $119K in fines.