Cesspool. That’s the best word that I can come up with.
I think that the political leadership embroiled in the Delaware Department of Corrections scandal is best defined by the term cesspool. In a cesspool, even the clean and neat end up dirty. Commissioner Danberg is, I think, a fairly decent guy. But, he and the Governor are allowing a scandal to simmer on their watch. Scandals have a way of eventually becoming public, and even decent people get dirty. Just ask the Paterno family.
Commissioner Danberg was, under the previous Corrections Comissioner, Stan Taylor (another decent guy), in charge of “special projects” (whatever that means). He then moved to the Attorney General’s office. When Jane Brady, three time elected Attorney General, was nominated and confirmed as a Superior Court Judge, Mr. Danberg was named Attorney General by Governor Minner under the agreement that he would NOT run for Attorney General, but leave that spot for Joseph R. (Beau) Biden, III. When AG Biden narrowly won his race against Ferris Wharton, Governor Minner appointed former AG Carl Danberg to be Corrections Commissioner. Commissioner Danberg has also served loyally and well, as far as I know, in Delaware’s National Guard. Something for which we should all be thankful and proud.
So that’s the Commissioner’s brief government bio — extensive experience at all levels of Corrections as well as the Attorney General’s office.
So, we know that he has served in the Department of Corrections and been familiar with the leadership of the Department of Corrections for over a decade. We also know that Beau Biden owes the Commissioner a debt of gratitude as does the whole Democratic Party establishment. The Commissioner has been very loyal and well rewarded for his efforts. Nothing wrong with that, until it turns wrong, and it is turning wrong.
We now know, through the actions of the mendacious Rep. John Atkins and related News Journal coverage, that Sussex County Correctional Institution has been providing undocumented, low cost labor to the politically connected (I might add that this probably includes some Republican politicians, as well). The law of the State of Delaware requires that when a prisoner makes money that he/she must report those earnings to 1) pay taxes, 2) pay victims compensation, 3) pay other court ordered/required expenses. If a private citizen or a released former prisoner refused to make these payments, the Attorney General’s office would investigate and prosecute to the full extent of the law.
But, the Attorney General has refused to prosecute or investigate. Why? Because the AG knows that the politically connected in Sussex County will not support him for his next election, and if the Attorney General decides to take on U.S. Senator Chris Coons in 2014, General Biden will need Sussex County support.
Charlie Oberle, U.S. Attorney and a decent guy and former Delaware Attorney General, has also declined to investigate. Could working for Beau Biden’s dad, the U.S. Vice President, be connected to this political decision to ignore the clear violations of federal tax law if not potential due process violations?
Why would these simple political decisions rise to the level of “cesspool”? Because there are more allegations than just sending out some guys to cut the grass of the Sussex County politically-connected on the cheap. Delaware’s Corrections Officers have long been an under-respected component of keeping Delaware safe. They have been forced to work with low staffing numbers and low investment in equipment and technology. However, they have been required to provide for the political handlers who control the system.
What hath the Delaware Way and One-Party rule wrought? Over-worked government employees being forced to provide benefits for the political class, but the Government worker is the one who is exposed. The political elite? Protected. When it blows, Delaware again will be an embarrassment across the nation. What should the political elite do? Come clean — get out of the cesspool.