The next form of pay to play? | Bleader

Friday, December 26, 2008

The next form of pay to play?

Posted By on 12.26.08 at 12:09 PM

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Thanks to the feds, it's reportedly harder than than it used to be to hand out jobs for political favors, and it seems the governor has recently been reminded that you're not supposed to expect a few hundred thousand bucks for a Senate appointment.

"The usual bribes of choice ... aren't always the best options," as the Washington Post puts it in a story about a slightly different subject. "Showy gifts such as money, jewelry and cars tend to draw unwanted attention."

So would anyone be surprised if Chicago's political operatives turned to Afghanistan for guidance on the smart way to broker a deal?

"In their efforts to win over notoriously fickle warlords and chieftains, [CIA] officials say, the agency's operatives have used a variety of personal services. These include pocketknives and tools, medicine or surgeries for ailing family members, toys and school equipment, tooth extractions, travel visas, and, occasionally, pharmaceutical enhancements for aging patriarchs with slumping libidos.

"'Whatever it takes to make friends and influence people--whether it's building a school or handing out Viagra,' said one longtime agency operative."

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