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Privatization Scheme in El Paso Leads to Indictments, Racketeering Charges

by: Phillip Martin

Fri Sep 03, 2010 at 11:24 AM CDT

From the El Paso Times: "Public corruption: Feds allege bribery, kickbacks"

Eleven people -- including the mayor of Socorro, two lawyers and several current and former elected officials -- used a scheme of bribes and kickbacks to obtain contracts for Access HealthSource, a local health-care provider, federal prosecutors allege.

The workings of the enterprise were unveiled in a 27-page indictment that became public Thursday. The indictment charges all of them with six counts of bribery and fraud. Most of them are also charged with one count of violating the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations act, known as RICO.

The RICO charge is commonly used by the government to fight criminal organizations.

Privatization has failed all across Texas, most famously with the failed contracts of Accenture to mange the state's children's health care programs, and more recently with the IBM fiasco. Republicans will continue to push privatization as the "be-all, end-all" of solutions -- but without accountability, this is what we're left with.

I think we'll be hearing more about this story in the coming weeks. Stay tuned...


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Privatization (3.00 / 2)
Privatization did not fail.  Elected officials in a primarily Democratic county failed.

We need to be able to call out our own, otherwise we are no better than Republicans who simply ignore the misdeeds of the their own.

The two aren't necessarily mutually exclusive (0.00 / 0)

"In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican." - H.L. Mencken

[ Parent ]
I don't believe (0.00 / 0)
anything was said about the politics of this. If you are a politician in El Paso you are likely a "Democrat."
Moot point. And a diversion from the story.

[ Parent ]
Excuse me? (0.00 / 0)
"Republicans will continue to push privatization as the "be-all, end-all" of solutions -- but without accountability, this is what we're left with."

If that's not politics, what is? The point is Phillip calls out the Republicans but you feel the Democrats who have taken advantage of the privatization should not be called out?

So it's okay for Democrats to be sleazy but not Republicans? If it were Republicans who had been indicted you would consider the political affiliation of those indicted to be the focus rather than the diverson.

Such hypocrisy.  

[ Parent ]
Do Democrats (0.00 / 0)
push "privatization" in their platform?  I don't think anyone's political affiliation matters...the point is, "privatization," breeds corruption no matter the political affiliation.  Phillip isn't calling out "Republicans" for their corruption...he's calling out "Republicans" for pushing "privatization."

What don't you get about that???

[ Parent ]
No hypocrisy (0.00 / 0)
Privatization has been pushed as a public policy solution by Republicans in Texas on a statewide level. On numerous instances, including those I listed, they have failed.

This is another example of privatization failing. Without accountability -- and clearly there was none in El Paso -- the results are often bad for the public. As a public policy tool, privatization often fails.

Now, a very great man once said that some people rob you with a fountain pen.

[ Parent ]
No... (0.00 / 0)

This so-called example of privatization was NOT a push by Republicans.  You are looking at this scandal through a straw.

This bribery scheme is only part of much larger corruption scandal that involved rigging the county court system to let attorneys get "friendly" judges and also has involved a military contractor lying about the number of disabled employees they have.  

[ Parent ]
No (0.00 / 0)
I really wish you read my comments before jumping to a conclusion about what I said.

Nowhere in the post, or in my comment, have I said the situation surrounding Access HealthCare was a Republican-run scheme. Nowhere did I say that. I'm taking this one instance of privatization failure -- the one in El Paso -- and making the case that privatization, as a public policy tool, is often a failure. And it is often one that Republicans have argued for repeatedly and it has failed repeatedly, and as a result with a failure, "we're left with" scandals like this.

Elected officials failed -- absolutely. The Democrats and Republicans behind this failed -- absolutely. But as a matter of public policy, privatization is often pushed by Republicans, and because it often lacks accountability, we're often left with this mess. And if you think there were no Republicans behind this mess, then you are sorely, sorely mistaken.

Now, a very great man once said that some people rob you with a fountain pen.

[ Parent ]
Yes... (0.00 / 0)
And I wish you had really read what is going on in El Paso.  I know you are from there.  

This actually was not a "privatization" scheme. This was something that was going to bid, and something that occurs at all levels of government, but the bidding was rigged.  

[ Parent ]
AT least scandals in privtized "schemes" can be uncovered (0.00 / 0)
and reversed.  Government run "schemes" end up with lifelong bureaucrats at the helm who are experts at covering their tracks with tons of red tape. Most also have friends assisting their schemes on the very congressional committees that oversee them.    

[ Parent ]
Breeds Corruption? (0.00 / 0)
I don't know about that.  Chicago's current mayor, a Democrat, is known for successful privatization of some of the city's services.  

Privatization for privatization sakes is not good.  But when it can be use to improve and enhance a service it should.

That and privatization does not mean "hand it over to a corporation."  In some instances privatization can mean handing it over to a non-profit organization.  

Privatization vs. Public (0.00 / 0)
Who decides when it's best to "improve and enhance a service"?? All I ever hear from Republicans is how awful the government is...well, when they run and get elected they are serving in the "government."  Maybe getting on board with "privatization" makes them feel less like a "government" employe.

Who decides? Simple. (0.00 / 0)
'Who decides when it's best to "improve and enhance a service"??'

The same elected official duly elected by the constituents they represent that also can decide when to tax or establish a new government program.

"Chicago Mayor Richard Daley, a Democrat, has privatized more than 40 services and, since 2005, has generated over $3 billion in privatization deals for the Chicago Skyway toll road, four downtown parking garages, and the city's downtown parking meter system. And when Democrat Ed Rendell, governor of Pennsylvania, was mayor of Philadelphia, he saved $275 million by privatizing 49 city services, including golf courses, print shops, parking garages and correctional facilities."

(Source: http://reason.org/news/show/lo...

[ Parent ]
I'm Sorry (0.00 / 0)
To complete this "free market" argument, I need to actually see something at the link to a "source" at the Reason Foundation. You do good, clear quotation marks, though (first sentence).

[ Parent ]
Again... (0.00 / 0)
The point is not that Reason Foundation is right or wrong, the point is that Democrats do support and implement privatization plans, whether you like it or not.  

[ Parent ]
Looks as if (0.00 / 0)
Mayor Daley is retiring.  

[ Parent ]
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