By Robert A. Vella
Oh, the tangled web of corruption weaved by corporatism! Remember lawyer David Samson, the former New Jersey Attorney General and Chairman of the Port Authority (appointed by governor Chris Christie) who resigned from office last year during the Bridgegate scandal? Well, the federal investigation into his dirty dealings has prompted another big rat to run for cover, United Airlines CEO Jeff Smisek.
Hmm, what could possibly link Samson’s role in a political retribution scandal (against Fort Lee mayor Mark Sokolich allegedly for his refusal to endorse Christie’s reelection bid) to a commercial airlines executive?
From Reuters – United Airlines CEO Jeff Smisek steps down amid probe:
United Continental Holdings Inc (UAL.N) said on Tuesday Chief Executive Jeff Smisek had stepped down in connection with a federal probe of the airline, and that two other senior executives tied to the investigation would also be leaving.
“The departures announced today are in connection with the company’s previously disclosed internal investigation related to the federal investigation associated with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. The investigations are ongoing and the company continues to cooperate with the government,” UAL said.
United Continental’s executive vice president of communications and government affairs, Irene Foxhall, and its senior vice president of corporate and government affairs, Mark Anderson, also were leaving, according to a person familiar with the matter.
Media reports have said the government probe focused on whether United added direct flights to Columbia, South Carolina, from Newark to accommodate Samson, who had a home there.
The route was canceled after Samson resigned in early 2014 following news of a federal probe into the potential conflict of interest between his role as port authority chairman and his private law firm.
You see, folks, this is how America’s corporatist political system works in the 21st century. It is a close association between self-serving politicians and their wealthy benefactors which operates above the law. Technically, such practices are often illegal; but, proving secretive quid pro quo transactions in a court of law is extremely difficult considering the high evidentiary bar demanded by judges (i.e. direct proof, a.k.a. a smoking-gun). Circumstantial evidence, although theoretically valid in many areas of civil and criminal law in the U.S., is routinely dismissed in political corruption cases for reasons which warrant more scrutiny.