Why isn't this a bribe?
This story has all the elements of Democrat establishment corruption: an entrepreneur seeking affirmative action preferences, a congressman who is also a preacher, and a nonprofit organization receiving the money. The Better Government Association of Chicago posted this in the Chicago Sun-Times:
When the electricity at the South Side church run by U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush, D-Illinois, was cut off in July 2010, a longtime benefactor who’d sought help from the federal government came to the rescue, records obtained by the Better Government Association and Chicago Sun-Times show.
The records show Oxford Media Group Inc., an Oak Brook company owned by multimillionaire businessman Joseph Stroud, paid the bill — which was well past due, totaling $17,900 owed to Commonwealth Edison.
Days later, the power was restored to Rush’s Beloved Community Christian Church, 6430 S. Harvard Ave., the records show.
Rush had personally been named in a ComEd lawsuit over the church’s previous unpaid bills.
The payment from Oxford was one of a series of donations that Stroud, his family foundation and business interests have made to Rush’s church and campaign chest over the past 15 years, records show.
During much of that time, Stroud was trying to break into the wireless phone industry dominated by Verizon and AT&T, and Rush was pushing for federal tax incentives that would give one of Stroud’s other companies a leg up as a minority-owned business.
Stroud has a history of playing off affirmative action preferences as an entrepreneur:
One of a handful of African-American TV station owners in the United States, Stroud paid a firm $1.3 million to lobby Congress and the Federal Communications Commission, which regulates the airwaves, from 2001 through 2010, records show.
Rush, a senior member of the House telecommunications subcommittee, for years has pushed for legislation to increase minority ownership in telecom. He sponsored failed bills in 2003, 2005 and 2007 to create tax incentives to make it easier for minority-owned media companies to move into the lucrative wireless industry.
In late 2008, Stroud set his sights on wireless assets being divested by Verizon — including its subscriber base — in two dozen states to satisfy antitrust concerns and win federal approval of its purchase of rival Alltel.
Stroud wanted the FCC to encourage Verizon to sell at least some of those assets to a minority-owned company.
Stroud failed in this particular attempt to profit off preferences by purchasing assets at preferential prices. But not for Rush’s lack of effort:
At a 2009 congressional hearing, Rush ripped the FCC commissioners over the “debacle” of failing to promote minority bidders’ purchase of Verizon assets.
It has long been a two-way street:
In 2008, Stroud’s family foundation had donated $79,165 to Rush’s church, according to foundation tax returns. In 2009, it gave another $35,000.
Stroud’s company gave $50,000 to Rush’s failed mayoral race in 1999, he personally contributed $10,000 the next year to another Rush campaign fund, state records show.
Rush is a former member of the Black Panthers and served six months in jail for a weapons violation. He became a born-again Christian and a politician, combining what the Democrats like to call “public service” roles as a minister and a congressman.
One hand washes the other in Chicago.
Hat tip: Peter von Buol