Fraud And Hokum's Journal: As The Philadelphia Inquirer Releases A Scathing Condemnation Of "Democratic Party Corruption In Philadelphia", Filled Negro, David Love And Killa Mike All Agree: "Black People's Continued Investment In The Democratic Party To Bring Them Social Justice Will Pay Off But Only If They Are Not Distracted By Such Lies "
When the corrupt and inept float to the surface of the swamp known as the Philadelphia Democratic Party, its chairman, U.S. Rep. Bob Brady, usually looks the other way.
In Brady's party, a former sheriff and a fellow congressman - whom Brady just endorsed for reelection - face federal charges. A Supreme Court justice from its ranks resigned in disgrace amid investigations of profane emails and questionable fees. A state senator, five state representatives, and eight city judges have been found guilty of crimes.
And that's just in the past two years; Brady has been the party boss since 1986.
Brady didn't decry the worst City Hall scandal of this young century, either, the rampant corruption of former Mayor John F. Street's administration, which led to 24 criminal convictions. Instead, he urged voters to reelect Street.
As it happens, Brady's chairmanship was born of the last century's worst City Hall scandal, Abscam, which led to the conviction that sidelined his political mentor, George X. Schwartz, who turned over his ward to Brady.
More common still than the headline-grabbing corruption of the past three decades have been the day-to-day cronyism and backroom deals that don't land anyone in jail.
So it may have surprised some last week when Brady called City Commissioners Chairman Anthony Clark a "disgrace." But Brady's chief complaint wasn't Clark's propensity to skip workdays and elections. It was that he didn't abide by a backroom deal to step aside as chairman and let a different Brady-backed functionary, Lisa Deeley, take over the position and its $139,000 salary. For the party, Clark's real offense is that he kept his chairmanship through an alliance with a Republican, Commissioner Al Schmidt.
But Brady has suffered no epiphany about the value of honorable public service. He backed Clark for reelection knowing full well that he rarely showed up and often failed to vote even though he is the city's top elections official. And Clark celebrated his reelection by signing up for the outrageous pension perk known as the Deferred Retirement Option Plan, or DROP, putting him in line for a $500,000 lump-sum payment on top of a handsome pension when he retires.
He promises this term will be his last, but who knows? According to Brady, Clark isn't a man of his word. "He's an absolute disgrace," Brady said. "What a piece of work."
Most of Philadelphia's elected Democrats - though none more than Brady - share the blame for this broken political machine. Their lack of outrage provides tacit support for corruption and incompetence in the nation's poorest big city, while the party's largely inept legislative delegation facilitates Harrisburg's starving of its schools.
Brady's negligence leaves the mess to Mayor Kenney, the city's top elected Democrat. He can start cleaning up by supporting a City Charter change to replace the commissioners with a professional appointed staff equal to the important public business of running elections.
To paraphrase Brady, Philadelphia's Democratic Party is an absolute disgrace. And its chairman? Well, he said it best: What a piece of work.