Thursday, March 13, 2008

Criminal Acts


Election news has me pretty occupied at the moment. I read everything political I can find and stress and flail and rant. I should stop looking, but I can't.

Our elected officials should be held to a higher standard than the people who voted for them, especially when they spent all kinds of money telling the voters that they are better and should be given a position of power.

In a sense, they asked for it and can expect people to dig around and uncover all the secrets and immediately blog about them.

The first headline I read about the current Governor Spitzer story the headline was something like "New York Governor Involved in Prostitution Ring". Before this story I couldn't have told you who Eliot Spitzer was or who the Governor of New York was even if the questions were asked back to back.

But I clicked through to the article thinking that "Involved in a Prostitution Ring" meant "Involved" and not "Visited". I guess, by definition, it is right. He gave them (reportedly) a lot of money in exchange for goods or services, so there was a financial relationship which can then be thesaurus'd into "Involved With" -- But I was expecting more!

From the headline I wanted him to be in charge of a high-priced call girl agency! I wanted him to be misappropriating state funds for . . . I don't know . . . Hooker training or something. I expected, based on "Involved with", to see an elected official at the heart of some seedy underworld empire which (documents would later show) used a portion of its enormous financial power to have a puppet Governor elected who, in turn, would somehow harness the power of whatever the hell a Super Delegate is to pull the moon out of orbit. Or run a brothel. You know. Whatever.

I expected to see a movie about it within six months on Lifetime where Judith Light plays his wife and we learn about his abusive father in "This Season's Most Heartwarming Story of Redemption and Forgiveness" or something and then another movie in ten years where the writer skimmed the Wikipedia entry and decided the prostitutes were employed by the Governor as part of some Shadow Government and were used to spy on foreign officials -- "But what happens when they uncover a terrible secret about one of our own?"

My expectations may not be typical.

Regardless, my official stance on this is that he was wrong and a total skank, yet not as wrong as I'd hoped he would be.

Crimes committed by our elected officials should never be the boring day-to-day crimes committed by average people. They have power and need to use it to amuse us if they aren't going to make meaningful improvements in policy.

But sometimes the crimes do meet my ever-fluctuating criteria for awesome. I'm posting a link and the text of the article below, but let me say that District Attorney Ray Sumrow of Rockwall County, Texas is my current favorite District Attorney in the whole world.

The guy used an untracked office supply fund to build an amazing gaming machine at his desk. Apparently, it is a pretty sweet machine, too. At least according to Prosecutors and Rod Gregg (the FBI's subject matter expert on uber-leet gaming - Frag Control Division). It has gaming-quality video and audio, dual drives (probably RAID 0 for maximum performance) and UV reactive cables. In short, District Attorney Ray Sumrow is awesome. 

The question he needs to answer for the people of the State of Texas is this:

What game? Ooooo! It's World of Warcraft, isn't it? It is! What faction? Hell, yeah! Go Horde! The Alliance is a bunch n00bs, am I right? Hell yes I'm right!

Also, when Ray Sumrow later runs for higher office, he has not only secured my vote but probably the votes of people with enough knowledge and free time to hack the hell out of voting machines.

Oh, the crime!

Rockwall County District Attorney Ray Sumrow used server for personal items, expert says

Rockwall County: At trial, prosecutors allege office funds bought computer

12:00 AM CDT on Tuesday, March 11, 2008

By ELIZABETH LANGTON / The Dallas Morning News

A computer that Rockwall County District Attorney Ray Sumrow says he built as a backup server for his office contained documents related to eBay sales, personal e-mails and a cheat sheet for a computer game, an FBI computer expert testified Monday morning.

Rod Gregg, an FBI senior forensic examiner, said 80 percent of the content he found on the computer appeared to be personal rather than work-related.

Mr. Sumrow is being tried in Dallas on charges of forgery, theft and records tampering. As part of the case, prosecutors allege that he used office funds to buy the computer for personal use.

"I would not configure a backup computer in that way," Mr. Gregg said.

"When I saw that, I did not think of anything related to a government agency," he said.

The computer – equipped with two hard drives, seven fans, high-end video and audio cards, a wireless Internet connection and cables

that glow under ultraviolet light – is designed for playing video games, prosecutors say.

Alan Timberlake, assistant director of information technology for Rockwall County, called the computer "gimmicky" and more suited to a college dorm room than an office.

Defense attorney James Wheeler said Mr. Sumrow built the computer from parts he purchased on sale.

Mr. Sumrow paid for the parts with a check drawn on the district attorney's "fee fund," which contains fees collected from hot-check writers.

Under state law, the district attorney can spend the money on office expenses such as supplies, equipment and employee salaries.

Prosecutors allege that Mr. Sumrow used it as a "personal slush fund." He bought computer equipment for his own use and to resell for personal profit, among other illegal expenditures, they have said.

Mr. Wheeler has repeatedly stated that the district attorney has sole discretion over how to spend the fund.

Testimony will resume today and is expected to last through at least midweek.

Mr. Sumrow could face two more trials related to the alleged misuse of money dedicated to operating his office.


Jane said...

I thought the same thing when I was watching MSNBC today and they were talking about Gov. Spitzer. "Involved in a prostitution ring" sounds like he was part of the Mafia, or pimping. know...sleeping with hookers.

Nick said...

It's nice to know that I was not the only one to be disappointed by this...I hoped he had a desk in the basement of a seedy bar where he kept a big notebook of hookers and the money they each brought in....sigh