Saturday, May 28, 2005


The Tennessee Waltz: FBI cleans up Democrats

On Thursday the FBI arrested three Tennessee state senators, one former state senator, a state representative, a lobbyist and a nobody after a sting operation known as "The Tennessee Waltz." The news today, according to the AP, is that Sen. John Ford has resigned "to spend the rest of my time with my family clearing my name." In addition to the charge of taking payoffs which he shares with his fellow legislators, Sen. Ford is also charged with threatening to kill a witness.

Of the current politicians the FBI netted three Democrats and a Republican. The state representative was the Republican.

God knows these people badly needed bustin' if they're guilty as charged. But it would appear there may have been a little preferential investigating going on.

"This was a major-league effort," said Neil Cohen, a former state prosecutor. "It's not uncommon - it's ongoing all the time all over the country - but there aren't many at this level where there's this much effort and resources and time devoted to one particular sting."

The FBI went all out in this two-year setup.

The FBI even went so far as to register E-Cycle as a corporation with the Georgia Secretary of State, listing its chief executive officer as "J Carson." E-Cycle had a storefront office in Memphis, not far from the Beale Street entertainment district.

Undercover agents, posing as executives of E-Cycle, offered lawmakers free trips to Florida and wined and dined them at a reception at a Nashville hotel in January.

"I think it's fair to say this type of thing is expensive," said George Bolds, spokesman for the FBI office in Memphis, who said he could not reveal the exact cost of the sting. "It's kind of an extraordinary and sensitive technique used."

Well, this should free up their resources so that they can move on into Texas.

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