Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Yankton's Population Grows by One

It is likely that Yankton, South Dakota is about to get a new temporary resident. Federal Prison Camp Yankton is unique among the US Prison Camps. Not a part of a larger prison, it is set right in the middle of this small city of 22,000 people. Once Yankton College, the camp still looks like an ivy covered college and not a prison. It is pretty cushy compared to a supermax or even a regular federal prison. It is one of the places to which the feds send the white collar convicts. Looks like Shawn Brown is going to join fellow greedy young Republican Adam Taff there soon. Maybe they can share their pain.

Brown, former mayor of St Peter’s, MO got an 18-month prison sentence and a severe tongue lashing from the judge. Judge Henry Autrey told Brown that through his actions, he abused his elected position and destroyed the public's faith in good government. Brown had plead guilty of felony bribery by soliciting and accepting a $2,750 bribe from Redflex Traffic Systems Inc, a company that is installing traffic cameras in St. Peters

Judge Autrey reamed the now contrite but once cocky mayor who ran a hard campaign to unseat a long serving mayor: "Part of your promise to the citizens of St. Peters was honest government. You flat-out lied. You didn't complete your campaign promise. You abused your position of trust … to steal, to fatten your own pocket," Autrey added. It appears Brown and his family are in deep financial trouble. Spending more than they had, the $2750 bribe probably would have kept the wolves away for a few minutes. News reports say their house, the restaurant they owned, his wife’s hair salon and the house are for sale. He also got fired from his full time job. A few months in Yankton may be the least of his worries.

His story is much like Taff’s. Both were up and coming politicians, caught with their hands in the money pot. Taff is serving a 15-month term at Yankton for misusing campaign money to fraudulently obtain a loan on a $1.2 million home. Although he lost the race he was running, he was certainly being groomed for future positions in Kansas politics.

Minor offences in the scheme of things, but both these men campaigned on morality, clean government and conservative family values, which include denying gay and lesbian family rights but seems to include fraud and greed.

I wish no further punishment for them, they have ruined their political careers, they will fade away. The big question is will others learn from them? Harsh punishment and execution has not stopped murder, long sentences and the Scarlet Letter for sex offenses has not stopped that crime. So a few months in the almost pleasant surroundings at Yankton won’t do much I am afraid.

No comments: