Sunday, March 13, 2005

Vince Fumo in trouble?

Vince Fumo, the all powerful State Senator from Philly, (also called the Vince of Darkness by some), had his computers seized by federal agents as part of an ongoing probe into the Senator's dealings.

From the article:
It couldn't be learned what information federal authorities were seeking. But the sprawling investigation has already touched on many areas, from Fumo's free use of an expensive museum yacht to his moves to obtain six- and seven-figure donations for nonprofit groups run by his aides and consultants.

Prosecutors previously subpoenaed records from those nonprofit groups. They have also subpoenaed records from Peco Energy Co. and Verizon Communications Inc., both of which Fumo approached for donations to the most well-funded of his nonprofits, the multimillion-dollar Citizens Alliance for Better Neighborhoods.

Verizon rejected Fumo's request for money, but Peco secretly donated $17 million to the nonprofit as part of deals in which Fumo dropped his challenges to its deregulation plans and its merger with a Chicago utility.


This person said the probe, broadly speaking, was looking into whether Fumo had misused his official position - which Fumo says he never did.

"I did nothing wrong," the legislator said last year in a radio interview. "I sleep well at night."

Last year, prosecutors subpoenaed records from Peco after The Inquirer disclosed Fumo's secret deals with the utility under which it gave Citizens Alliance $17 million.

As part of those deals, Fumo dropped legal challenges to Peco's objectives. The utility also agreed to cut rates and to fund solar and wind energy and keep jobs in Philadelphia.

Directed by a Fumo aide, Citizens Alliance has worked to improve the Passyunk Avenue business area. It also supports a charter school, cleans streets, plows snow, and operates a parking lot on land that Peco gave it for $1. Fumo has called the group "my nonprofit" and said it has done much good for the community.
Will Vince be caught? My guess is no. He is, whatever you say about him, one smart cookie. I doubt he would do anything that he knew could get himself convicted of anything. On the other hand, he may have become a little too bloated with largesse and got lazy, who knows.

Fumo is one of the more interesting people in Philly politics. I do not think he is joking at all when he says he sleeps well at night, because I think in his mind, if he makes out like a bandit while still pushing money around the community, then everything is working out perfectly. So, to him, the fact that he extracted 17 million from Peco just meant more power, and more largesse to spread around. And his pork has brought (bought?) him many, many friends where you wouldn't really expect it. (For example, liberal-do-gooder and consumer advocate Lance Haver, who started an urban fish farm, got 250k from Fumo for his project.)

It will be interesting to follow.


At 12:20 PM, Blogger Alex Urevick-Ackelsberg said...

You'd be surprised how stupid smart people are when it comes to technology.

I bet, for example, that Fumo thinks that deleting an e-mail rids all traces of it from your computer.

Also, Fumo strikes me as such an arrogant bastard that he probablly thinks that he's above the law.

But here's a question- Dem. and Rep. polticians are probablly equally corrupt within the state (actually, I bet the Reps are more corrupt). So why is it that the feds seem to exclusively go after Dems? Is there something I'm missing here?


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