Corbett’s Course

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Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett / REUTERS

In the saga of silence and cover-up that is the Penn State scandal, one person stands out for standing up and doing the right thing: Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett. A former prosecutor, Corbett began investigating allegations of sexual abuse at the university back in 2009, putting him on a collision course with the state’s most-beloved football coach and largest university. His investigation – Corbett was then the state’s attorney general – led to a grand jury indictment that, when accidentally made public, laid out the details of the case.

Corbett has earned a reputation as a crusader. An earlier inquiry revealed the misuse of state funds by both Democrats and Republicans. As a trustee of Penn State, Corbett also set in motion the events that led to the ouster of Joe Paterno, Penn State’s football coach for 46 years, and Graham B. Spanier as university president. Whistle-blowers are the counter-balancing force to corruption. He may not fit the classic definition of one, and yet Corbett deserves kudos for his willingness to call out wrong-doing when he sees it.

Sweep to Tom Corbett, Pennsylvania governor, couldn’t discuss inquiry 

 

100Reporters took a special interest in the case of Viktor Bout, the former KGB agent who was found guilty of arms trafficking last week in Federal Court in New York. As Bout, whose activities earned him the chilling moniker the “Merchant of Death,” faces sentencing, arms trafficking expert Andrew Feinstein accuses the US and other governments of hypocrisy.

Feinstein, author of the new book The Shadow World: Inside the Global Arms Trade, notes that while the Justice Department is prosecuting Bout today, during the Iraq war the Defense Department hired Bout to deliver supplies and weapons inside Iraq, and even asked the Treasury Department to delay blacklisting Bout’s company so he could deliver one more shipment.

Feinstein writes that little may change in this shadowy world given the complex relationships between governments, intelligence agencies and hidden national security interests. Feinstein cites a Transparency International study showing that arms trade of the type that Bout was involved in accounted for 40 percent of the corruption in global trade. Such corruption only fuels never-ending conflicts and supports senseless dictatorships.

On some level, the exploits of men like Bout can make for great cloak-and-dagger reading. When considering the human cost of illegal arms trade, such exploits, along with the willingness of many governments to turn a blind eye, only bring more tragedy and pain to some of the most unstable countries in the world.

Sweep to Arms and the corrupt man 

 

Even babies in Nigeria, a country with a long history of corruption, are not off- limits when it comes to ripping off taxpayers. Associated Press reports of a baby being put on a government payroll and earning $150 a month. The baby is just one of numerous “ghost workers” getting a government check without actually performing any work. In this case, the baby’s father had started collecting (his/her?) salary before the baby was born, and records show that the baby was even recorded as having a diploma.

Nigerian prosecutors are trying hard to clamp down on the country’s rampant corruption. Bringing stories like this to light, as wacky as it may be, is just one small step – let’s call it a baby step – towards greater accountability and transparency.

Sweep to Newborn on Nigeria payroll

Diana Jean Schemo

Diana Jean Schemo

Diana Jean Schemo is co-founding executive editor of 100Reporters and an award-winning former foreign, national and cultural correspondent for The New York Times and the Baltimore Sun.

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