Now, as you can see from the PowerPoint presentation behind me, 2004 was a spectacular year. Subpoenas were up 64 percent. Indictments, 78 percent. And in terms of FBI investigations, we finally knocked Louisiana off the No. 1 spot. [Wild cheering]
But as you can see from this next graph, there were also some disturbing numbers -- namely in the conviction category. It seems some of our members, whom we won't be seeing for two to six years, failed to remember the principal goal of corruption. Now, who can tell me what that is? Yes, former Speaker Householder?
"Craven personal enrichment?"
Good answer, but it's not quite the one I was looking for. Former Treasurer Deters?
"Liquor and chicks?"
Again, a very good answer. But let's try another. Councilman Jones?
"Not getting caught."
Yes, Councilman, that's correct -- though it seems you forgot that lesson a few months ago. [Laughter] If we examine this next slide, you'll note that a speaker of the House, a state treasurer, a mayor, a county prosecutor, multiple building inspectors, water-department employees, and others too numerous to mention all lost their jobs last year because of what, people?
[In unison] "Because they got caught!"
Very good. And if we extend this logic, getting caught inevitably means losing your ability to be corrupt, correct?
"Unless I appoint them to the Turnpike Commission." [Laughter]
Good one, Governor Taft. Now, let's discuss some of the ways to avoid getting caught. Anyone?
"Don't take bribes in front of FBI video cameras."
Councilman Jones, you're on your game today. Anyone else?
"Don't take checks."
Excellent, Treasurer Deters. It looks like someone's been doing his homework. Now, let's look at this next graph, which indicates that we also have some problems with pricing. As you can see, some members -- I won't name names, building inspectors -- have been pricing themselves in the $100-$200 range. People, let's show a little self-respect. If we're going to sell our dignity, shouldn't we at least get proper value? Who has ideas?
"I hire a certified actuary twice a year to calculate my market value, then present each investor with an updated prospectus."
Thank you, Auditor Montgomery, that was . . . interesting, though you may wish to recall our previous discussion about not getting caught. As a general rule, you want to avoid engaging disinterested third parties in illicit transactions. Anyone else? No? Okay, maybe we're getting too complex here. Let's try another subject: Who has any new scams they'd like to share with the group? Yes, former Mayor Coyne?
"I got drunk and passed out on someone's driveway. They sent me to a rehab center in Arizona for a month. It had a really nice pool."
Thank you, Mayor, but I believe we were looking for something more ambitious. Yes, Congressman Kucinich?
"I ran for President [resounding laughter], and the federal government gave me $2.9 million. I used it to get a date."
[Sighing] Yes, Mr. Kucinich, I believe we've all heard about your presidential bid and your date. Now it looks like some people could use refills on their coffee. Can you grab a pot and make yourself useful, Congressman? Thank you.
[General grumbling] "Christ, who invited Kucinich?"
Okay, people. [Pounding of gavel] Maybe we should just move on to the question-and-answer period. Yes, former Mayor White?
"I have a friend [laughter] who has a problem. His friend just got indicted in this multistate bribery scandal. And my friend is worried that his friend will rat him out. And I was wondering -- I mean my friend was wondering -- whether he should wait to get indicted, or take it on the lam. I was also looking for a recommendation on a tropical nation with a weak extradition treaty that's suitable for alpaca farming."
Very good question, May --
I'm sorry, Governor Taft, but Georgia is not a country.
No, Willoughby is not a country either, Commissioner Dimora.
"Great Lakes Mall!"
Sorry, Senator Grendell, but the mall is definitely not a sovereign nation. Okay, people . . . People! [Pounding of gavel] I see our attention span is waning. So let's just conclude this meeting with a prayer. Speaker Householder, will you do the honors?
"Dear Lord, thank you for the many blessings we've received this year, particularly that money from FirstEnergy. Thank you for comforting and guiding us. Thank you for giving Deters a new job as Hamilton County prosecutor. He owes me money. And thank you for not letting the feds indict me yet. And when I do go to prison, I pray that you'll find it in your heart to send me to one with jacuzzis and tennis, but hardly any Negroes. Negroes scare me. Amen."
[In unison] "Amen."
Okay, people. [Banging of gavel] This concludes our annual meeting. Just give your keys to Kucinich, and he'll fetch your cars. And remember: Let's avoid talking on wiretaps this year!
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