Why do I bring this up? Because in many cities across the country, including Chicago, gang-bangers, thugs and felons often attempt to continue their criminal activities under the guise of do-godding and yes.....'community organizing'.
According to an article in the January 2012 issue of Chicago magazine, Chicagoland politicians have been forging an unholy alliance with gang members from the Vice Lords, Gangster Disciples or Latin Kings [its a long but very worthwhile read, I might add- NANESB!].
The former chieftains, several of them ex-convicts, represented some of the most notorious gangs on the South and West Sides, including the Vice Lords, Gangster Disciples, Black Disciples, Cobras, Black P Stones, and Black Gangsters. Before the election, the gangs agreed to set aside decades-old rivalries and bloody vendettas to operate as a unified political force, which they called Black United Voters of Chicago. “They realized that if they came together, they could get the politicians to come to them,” explains Baskin.Politicians and organized crime working together is nothing new in the city that gave us Bugs Moran and Al Capone. Technically, there are no local or state ordinances to prevent politicians from meeting with gang or organized crime leaders. Still, the willingness of some aldermen and state lawmakers to forge an alliance with Chicago's gangs should raise all sorts of ethical questions- even in America's most ethically challenged city.
The gang representatives were interested in electing aldermen sympathetic to their interests and those of their impoverished wards. As for the politicians, says [former gang leader] Baskin, their interests essentially boiled down to getting elected or reelected. “All of [the political hopefuls] were aware of who they were meeting with,” he says. “They didn’t care. All they wanted to do was get the support.”
Typically, candidates backed by gangs such as the Vice Lords or Gangster Disciples can expect manpower for a get-out-the-vote effort on election day as well as campaign contributions of ambiguous and opaque origins. In exchange, the gangs typically expect to have jobs steered to friends and family, lucrative contracts to be awarded to shell companies controlled by them as well as government grants directed to non-profits started by members who insist the thug life is behind them [i.e. 'community organizers'].
Without naming names, some incarcerated gang members also claimed they and their associates routinely provided narcotics and prostitutes to either aldermen or members of their staff.
In 2007, the Feds arrested alderwoman Arenda Troutman on charges of corruption and bribery after accepting $5000 in bribe money from a fictitious developer. Troutman was also romantically involved with the Black Disciples second-in-command in Chicago and her nephew and ex-husband were linked to the Windy City's scandal-plagued Hired Truck program.
Perhaps most disturbingly, the candidates and officeholders who actively solicit support from various gangs will either turn a blind eye or actually aid their ongoing criminal activities, tipping them off about impending raids or ongoing police surveillance while balking at passing any significant ordinances meant to curtail gang activity in their districts.
And just think- currently in the White House is somebody who began their political career in just such an amoral setting!