Indicted Charlotte mayor used access to White House in making plans for pay-offs
posted at 9:31 pm on April 1, 2014 by Mary Katharine Ham
Former Charlotte Mayor Patrick Cannon was indicted on federal corruption charges last week and immediately resigned his position. Cannon had replaced former Mayor Anthony Foxx, who was tapped in 2013 by the Obama administration to lead the Department of Transportation. News of Cannon’s indictment got only passing mention in national news, along with a handful of other corruption charges for Democrats.
The AP did a round-up of “big-city” mayors caught up in corruption cases, which may be the single greatest example of Name That Party ever executed.
Even an explosive allegation that former California Sen. Leland Yee (and former leading contender for Secretary of State) had gone from Brady Campaign honoree to dealing rocket launchers to terrorists hasn’t exactly catch fire in the media. Glenn Reynolds has a theory:
The New York Times buried the story as a one-paragraph Associated Press report on page A21, with the bland dog-bites-man headline, “California: State Senator Accused of Corruption.” This even though Yee was suspended, along with two others, from the California state senate in light of the indictment.
CNN, home (also until last week) of Piers Morgan, whom Yee had praised for his anti-gun activism, didn’t report the story at all. When prodded by viewers, the network snarked that it doesn’t do state senators. Which is odd, because searching the name of my own state senator, Stacey Campfield, turns up a page of results, involving criticisms of him for saying something “extreme”. Meanwhile, CNN found time to bash Wisconsin state senator and supporter of Gov. Scott Walker, Randy Hopper over marital problems.
But there’s a difference. They’re Republicans. When Republicans do things that embarrass their party, the national media are happy to take note, even if they’re mere state senators. But when Democrats like Yee get busted for actual felonies, and pretty dramatic ones at that, the press suddenly isn’t interested.
Here’s another tidbit I’d imagine would get more play if the mayor and White House referenced were Republican. In Charlotte, Mayor Patrick Cannon was using meetings with Obama at the White House to emphasize just how much he could pay off the plant the FBI had him talking to. I know this because I read local accounts:
Cannon allegedly boasted to the undercover agents about an upcoming trip to Washington during a meeting in the mayor’s office. He said he would use his clout to push for Charlotte streetcar funding.
“So, you know, Friday I’m meeting with the President,” he said. “The President will be asking what my priorities are. I’m gonna say the Gold Lynx Line’s a priority and I want to see that through.”
“Damn,” the agent responded. “I’m just proud, and, uh, grateful to uh, have you as a friend.”
A White House spokesman declined to comment Wednesday, citing the ongoing investigation. But a White House official said they were unaware of the FBI investigation at the time of Cannon’s visit to the White House in December 2013.
No comment. Movin’ on. Nor has Foxx been questioned about his relationship with Cannon, who took over his seat, and with whom he served in city government for years. Curious, that.