Corrupt politicians commonplace in Memphis - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Jason Miles

Corrupt politicians commonplace in Memphis

More than 80 elected officials or public employees have been charged with corruption in Memphis in just the last seven years. The Commercial Appeal printed that shocking statistic. The Memphis Flyer's Jackson Baker buys it.

"80 sounds high, but when you add staff members and even civil service people, it's probably that large," says Baker.

Politicians are among the most recent charged and convicted of federal crimes. They were swept up in the Tennessee Waltz sting. But what they did is nothing new.

"This one hand washes the other syndrome has always been there," says Baker. "Now people are saying I've had enough of it," he adds.

Many voters certainly have had enough.

"I don't think it casts a negative light on the whole city or government, but there sure is a lot of corruption," says Tim Shorrock of Memphis.

"I wouldn't say all politicians are dirty," adds Tracey Springfield. "I would like to say some of them are still clean," she adds.

Bakers says there is somewhat of a culture of corruption in Memphis.

"There has been in a sense of blue collar graft in Memphis," says Baker.

He means elected officials willing to take a little under the table in exchange for political favors. But the rules of the game have changed.

"Tap tap tap," said FBI Agent in Charge My Harrison during a recent news conference. "You never know where we're going to be," she added.

Baker says authorities are more committed than ever to catching crooked politicians.

"I expect more of this, not less," says Baker.

Click here to email Jason Miles.

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