“The truth is I broke the law, concealed my conduct, and disgraced my office. I know that I will forfeit my freedom, my reputation, my worldly possessions, most importantly, the trust of my friends and family.”
These are the words of Randy “Duke” Cunningham, former US Congressman and Vietnam War pilot Today he was sentenced to eight years in jail for tax evasion and receiving kickbacks from a variety of un-named sources in the form of cheques, gifts of antiques and free holidays.
Cunningham was a member of the political party that rules America, the most powerful country in the world, he is a decorated Vietnam War hero, at 64 years of age he is an elderly man and yet, less than three years after he came under investigation, he is in jail. He wasn’t even allowed visit his 91 year old mother before they clamped him in irons.
Here’s what the judge had to say:
‘You weren’t wet. You weren’t cold. You weren’t hungry and yet you did these things, I think what you’ve done is you’ve undermined the opportunity that honest politicians have to do a good job.â€
Meanwhile, here in the corrupt Republic of Ireland we also have a politician that broke the law, concealed his conduct and disgraced his office â€“ Charles Haughey. However, because Haughey lives in a corrupt state, he has no worries about jail. He lives in happy retirement in a luxurious mansion feted by friends and supporters.
During his career, Haughey received massive “funding’ from known and unknown businessmen, he also received substantial financial support from Allied Irish Banks, the most corrupt bank in Ireland (Neither the bank nor Haughey have ever been made to account for their corruption). He robbed millions through tax evasion, he robbed substantial sums of taxpayer’s money from the Party Leaders Fund and he lied under oath (Perjury) at the McCracken Tribunal.
Unlike Congressman Cunningham, Haughey will not have to forfeit his freedom or his worldly possessions and there is a strong campaign to rescue his reputation. This campaign obviously has the support of our Prime Minister, Bertie Ahern, who recently stated that Haughey, was a “wonderful man’ who did his country proud.
The difference between the treatment of Cunningham and Haughey represents the difference between a state that suffers from corruption but uses the law to control the disease and a country that is a corrupt entity in itself and therefore has little interest in bringing the corrupt to justice.