Dallas Mayor Pro Tem admits to federal corruption charges

The second most powerful politician in the city of Dallas – and someone who was thinking about running for mayor – is a felon.

Mayor Pro Tem Dwaine Caraway admitted today to accepting bribes along with tax evasion. Via The Dallas Morning News:

Caraway will admit to accepting $450,000 in bribes and kickbacks from two key figures in the scandal that brought down bus agency Dallas County Schools: Bob Leonard, who owned the surveillance camera company that took millions from DCS; and Slater Swartwood Sr., an associate of Leonard’s.

The longtime council member from Oak Cliff admits that the $390,000 he took from Leonard for “real estate consulting” was “excessive.” Court documents show that “Caraway knew that some of the money was to secure his political influence due to his position” as a council member.

Caraway admits to taking that money to “further Leonard’s business interests” — that is, attempt to convince the council to vote in support of his company Force Multiplier Solutions, the school bus camera company.

According to the plea agreement, if the court accept the deal cut with federal prosecutors, Caraway will not receive more than seven years behind bars. He will also agree to pay a six-figure fine, as was well as almost $69,000 to the Internal Revenue Service.

And all y’all thought Chicago politics was corrupt.

Caraway is your classic political grifter and reprobate – a man looking to do all he can to get in power and stay in power. When he was term-limited out of the Dallas City Council he first tried to challenge – politically and physically – Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price (another self-serving politico) in the Democratic primary but failed. Caraway then decided to run against the person he endorsed to succeed him, and won.

D Magazine editor Tim Rogers sums up Caraway’s personality in Dallas politics.

It’s indeed true. Caraway pressed flesh with almost everyone in Dallas and knew how to play to the game (he’d become a regular guest on 1310 The Ticket during his time out of office). He’d also gotten plenty of campaign cash from North Dallas – even though he lives in South Dallas.

His indictment and conviction isn’t surprising – Caraway had always come off as oily to me. It’s just another example of the high halls of government being filled with men and women of low moral quality. I doubt those rascals and mountebanks will ever end up being expunged because power is so alluring. U.S. Attorney Erin Nealy Cox called it a “day of reckoning” during a news conference today and it will be curious to see if anyone else gets gobbled up in the probe.

One final note: you can thank a local TV station for rooting out the corruption. Watchdogs are importants in keeping powerful government and other figures in check and accountable.

Caraway could get seven years in prison.

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