Newly re-elected Philadelphia Mayor John Street has a message for the FBI, says the Philadelphia Inquirer: If you have to investigate, don’t let the television news cameras tag along.
The fact of the FBI probe means that on any given day, Street could find his agenda usurped by the FBI’s. That’s the best-case scenario, the Inquirer says. The worst case is that, sooner or later, someone gets indicted.
“Whether Street is ultimately exonerated or not, there will be days when his administration feels like it’s been rocked to its core, and nothing else matters,” said Ken Snyder, a political consultant who advised former U.S. Sen. Robert G. Torricelli during a federal investigation of improper gifts.
The Inquirer says there are examples of mayors continuing to be successful while operating under clouds of suspicion. In Providence, R.I., Mayor Vincent “Buddy” Cianci was under investigation for more than three years before resigning in 2002 and going to prison for five years for racketeering conspiracy.
Throughout the years of investigation, Cianci “was remarkably effective,” said Darrell West of Brown University. “Even while he was under indictment, he kept doing events and signing legislation and passing out grants. People knew he was a little dishonest, but they felt he delivered for the city and good things were happening, so they overlooked the ethical problems.”