Robert Sorich, the number two guy in Mayor Richard Daley's Office of Intergovernmental Affairs, was sentenced today to 46 months in jail. His conviction last Spring made the point that tying public jobs to political performance is illegal all by itself; there is no need for the feds to show that anybody took a bribe or other personal payment to encourage trading public quid for private quo. And now his sentencing shows that judges take this kind of crime seriously, too. Judge David H. Cour noted that "The offense is corruption - corruption with a capital C," adding that "for people to owe their jobs to political advancement rather than performance on the job stinks."
The verdict should also be a warning to anyone else considering or currently tying public benefits to political actions. What's striking about the Hired Truck scandals that have, so far, culminated in this sentencing is that the underlying criminal acts took place at the same time that Operation Safe Road was convicting people of nearly identical acts at the Secretary of State's office. Some of the allegations in Hired Truck indictments even took place after other City employees had been indicted. Some day soon, we hope, insiders everywhere, at the state and local levels, will get the message that it's just not worth it, that no one is immune, and the feds are looking for this stuff. And, so far, the feds' record is better than the Bears'.