Bill Barr’s Justice Department is hammering down on corruption and lawlessness, be it large or small.
Last week, four city council members in Toledo, Ohio, were arrested and charged with demanding bribes from business owners in exchange for council votes. All four of the accused, Tyrone Riley, Yvonne Harper, Larry Sykes, and Gary Johnson, were Democrats.
“Citizens must be able to trust their elected officials and know that voting decisions are based on what is right for the community and not who paid the most,” FBI Special Agent Eric Smith said at a press conference on June 30.
“This is a fundamental breach of the oaths of office these officials took when assuming office and a breach of trust with those citizens who elected them,” Smith continued.
“No tolerance” for abuse of trust
Toledo’s Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz addressed the issue as well. In a statement covered by local news affiliate ABC 13, Kapszukiewicz said that he has “no tolerance for public officials who abuse the trust of the citizens.
“One of the reasons Toledo has seen relatively little political corruption, historically, is because the public doesn’t tolerate it either,” Kapszukiewicz added.
“These members of council are entitled to their day in court, and they should be presumed innocent until proven otherwise. I encourage all Toledoans to say a prayer for our city and for the hope that justice will be done in this case.”
The station also went on to quote a statement released by Mark Wagoner, who serves as chairman of the Lucas County Republican Party.
Republican official: Democrats bring “culture of corruption”
Wagoner insisted that the accused council members need to step down. “A culture of corruption exists within Toledo City government,” he complained.
“Four Democrat city council members – including the Executive Director of the Lucas County Democratic Party – have been arrested by the FBI in connection with a bribery scheme in Toledo city government.”
“Democrat domination of Toledo city politics has consequences, and today we see them. Lucas County Republicans have long pointed to the culture of corruption within the City of Toledo and have put forward quality candidates to end Democrat domination,” Wagoner argued.
“Today, the importance of watchdogs on Toledo City Council is never more clear,” he asserted, and then laid out some demands that his party is making.
“The Lucas County Republicans call for the following immediately: (1) all four city council candidates should resign; (2) open elections should be held for each of these open seats; and (3) Yvonne Harper should be removed as Executive Director of the Lucas County Democratic Party.”