Duke Cunningham has nothing on Ohio's Terrence Gasper

Tuesday, March 07, 2006 at 05:17 PM

A while ago, the Lobotomist posted a story about Duke Cunningham's use of a chart (a "rate card") to determine how much of a bribe he was due for each "favor."

Well, he's got competition for the title of Most Organized Political Extortion (MOPE).  It seems that Ohio's Terrence Gasper, that state's former chief financial officer of the Bureau of Workers' Compensation allegedly had a "handwritten list" specifying how much each brokerage firm was to receive in commissions for stock trades.

In the larger scandal of which "coingate" is a part, an investigation of the agency has revealed $300 million in investment losses.  This appears to be in addition to the $50 million that was given to Tom Noe, Republican fundraiser and rare coin dealer, to invest in coins, many or all of which are now missing.

A federal grand jury is now investigating whether the agency's top officials got favors for directing business to select brokers who, judging from the $300 million in losses, were over-compensated, with the 25 to 30 brokerage firms receiving commissions totaling about $15 million.  Each broker allegedly got up to about $750,000.  Presumably, the handwritten notes allowed Gasper to keep the payments straight.  After all, you wouldn't want to short a broker who's working with you to steal millions from the state you've sworn to serve.

The complex relationships appear to have been geared to giving money from the Compensation Fund to less-than-honest brokers, who funneled part of the loot back to the state officials, while either the brokers or the officials, or both, funneled part of the loot to the Republican Party or to the campaigns of specific Republican candidates.