Greetings folks, it's an honor to be part of the team for the week. I spend my days covering federal technology for Nextgov and have also written for National Journal. My main interests are sports, government waste, fried foods and anything involving my home state of Michigan.
One note on Neil's post: I actually interviewed for a job with Vibe when I was in college, where I was asked to name my three favorite rap albums of all time. At the time I replied Ready to Die, Aquemini and Midnight Marauders. Apparently that was not the right answer, because the interviewer did a double take and I didn't get the job.
My topic for today is the ongoing train wreck that is soon-to-be-former Detroit City Council member Monica Conyers. Conyers announced her resignation from office this week after pleading guilty to conspiracy to commit bribery in a scandal over a city sludge-hauling contract. If that makes her sounds like a character from The Wire, then you've got a pretty good idea of what kind of politician Conyers has proven to be. From the Detroit News:
Conyers faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine after pleading guilty Friday in federal court to allegations she sold her vote on a $1.2 billion sludge hauling contract to Synagro Technologies Inc. for a pair of $3,000 bribes. Federal officials say no other council members will face charges in the 2007deal.
The News was also kind enough to put together a brief highlight reel of some of Conyers' most memorable public mishaps:
Conyers, the wife of U.S. Rep. John Conyers, D-Detroit, made headlines even before taking office when she allegedly got into a fight during a birthday party and slugged a woman. No one was charged in the incident.
During her tenure, Monica Conyers put an aunt and her son on city payroll, used city police to escort her to Atlanta and Florida, had police officers chauffeur her children to private school in Oakland County and had spats with colleagues, including an infamous one with Kenneth Cockrel that ended with her calling him "Shrek."
Yes, that's the same Congressman Conyers who chairs the House Judiciary Committee. John Conyers is now facing scrutiny himself after his wife's former aide and political consultant Sam Riddle told the Detroit Free Press on Monday about a letter Rep. Conyers sent in 2007 to the EPA in support of an effort by Detroit businessman Jim Papas to build a hazardous waste injection well in his district. Conyers had previously opposed the well publicly in 2003 and 2004 citing environmental concerns, but that was before Papas indirectly contributed $10,000 to Monica Conyers.