June 5, 2007
By Ken Krayeske • 7:00 PM EST
Frown at the cowardly spectacle of elected officials protecting their own. Only two legislators have called for the resignation of Republican Senator Lou DeLuca of Woodbury. Self-preservation has overcome public service as the motive for holding elective office.
Upon the arrest of Sen. DeLuca, past experience taught me to wait for justice to take its course to demand his resignation. But once a man is convicted of conspiring to threaten, of seeking to use violence to solve a dispute, he is not fit to govern himself, you, me, or anyone else.
DeLuca must resign for our state government to maintain any credibility with the voting public whatsoever. All three branches of government failed to apply the law fairly and honestly to DeLuca.
DeLuca, a member of the Governor’s party, cultivated a long-term relationship with a known organized crime figure that featured an unreported bribery attempt, a $100,000 donation from the Mafioso to the Senator’s favorite charity and, of course, a promise from the Senator to do political favors for the mobster.
For the conspiracy charge, the Senator received a slap on the wrist. His legal ordeal was over in less than a week, yet his criminal lapse in judgment spanned years.
The whole thing is so weird and corrupt it belongs in the Weekly World News, and it makes me feel like Ed Anger, madder than a monkey in a cage.
Prosecutors threw a phony charge on him – the 365-day statute of limitations had expired on the misdemeanor, but they went forward with the charade because it was easier than opening the can of worms that would have been a federal corruption investigation.
By remaining in the state legislature, Sen. DeLuca and all those enabling his presence there have communicated clearly that elected officials can make laws, break them with impunity, yet expect you and me to follow them.
Many voices in the state Capital proclaim that Lou is such a nice guy, nothing should happen to him. Only Rep. Chris Caruso and Sen. Edith Prague have demanded he step down. Hurray for them! Caruso was a bulldog when I got arrested. He is the best guy we have.
Once Prague opened her mouth, instead of debating the merits of her idea, forces attacked her previous transgressions, which include fibbing about her dog pooping on the floor of the Legislative Office Building and driving colleague Rep. Kevin Ryan to work in Hartford after he was convicted of DWI and lost his license.
Understanding that we are all human and we all make mistakes, and understanding that nothing is black and white, and understanding there is plenty of gray here, allow me to join the small chorus that says some slip-ups are far worse than others. DeLuca and his Tonya Harding act must go.
For our state apparatus to maintain consent of its governed, it must not promote two sets of law, one for those with privilege, and one for everyone else.
While the legislature rallies around a criminal who was willing to sell self-government to the highest bidder, the executive branch remains mum, too.
Governor M. Jodi Rell is a Republican first and a wimp second. Satan will snowplow before she offers a statement that remotely resembles leadership on this – demanding that DeLuca step down to give citizens confidence that the law is for everyone. Add this to the list of her ethical missteps. She is incapable of calling for reform.
The Bill DiBella debacle is another example of such injustice. He was recently convicted with taking a finder’s fee in connection with in the Paul Silvester bribery scam of a decade ago, yet DiBella didn’t forsake his seat on the MDC board.
I guarantee if you or I were convicted of either offense, we would be relieved of our jobs. Shoot, I was radioactive when I went looking for work after I was tossed in the cooler on ginned-up charges.
We need equal justice, and our leaders lack the courage to punish themselves truthfully or acknowledge the severity of the mistakes they make and their damage on the public trust.
Just because men like DiBella and DeLuca are elders doesn’t mean they deserve mercy they wouldn’t offer someone else. DeLuca isn’t the kind of a man to turn this into a “Scrooge” moment of redemption where he suddenly realizes that he has been wrong all these years. No, the man who thought Ronald Reagan was too liberal will likely continue to represent insurance companies and business interests like, say, the mob.
We’ll have to wait another year – 2008 - for voters to determine what consequences he deserves, if any, because the elected officials of the state are more than willing to forgive one of their own quicker than they would the little people who put them there.
Since DeLuca sits on the redistricting committee, and carved up his district into an overwhelmingly GOP seat, it is unlikely a Democrat can beat him. Even more disheartening is the chance that voters would re-elect him.
More than likely, DeLuca will go quietly into that night, and a Republican state representative in his district who feels entitled to DeLuca’s seat because they have bade their time in the lower chamber will replace him.
The sense of entitlement is disgusting, and sadly, no one may even rise to challenge him. Whatever happens, until people stand up and demand better of our elected representatives, they will continue to get away with these shenanigans.
We get the ethically bankrupt government we deserve.