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Los Angeles Mayor Race Upended by Democrat Corruption Scandal

Posted on Wednesday, October 19, 2022
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by AMAC Newsline
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AMAC Exclusive – By Andrew Abbott

Mark Ridley-Thomas and Karen Bass

After trailing Democrat U.S. Rep Karen Bass by as many as 12 points in August in the Los Angeles mayoral race, conservative Rick Caruso had significantly narrowed the gap to just three points earlier this month, well within the margin of error. While the factors leading to Democratic struggles nationally have undoubtedly played into Caruso’s resurgence, Bass has also become embroiled in a scandal involving the University of Southern California (USC) which is hampering her candidacy.

The saga began late last year when a federal grand jury indicted Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas on bribery and fraud charges. According to the indictment, Ridley-Thomas orchestrated contracts between USC and the city for services that would yield millions in taxpayer dollars for USC. In exchange, the school gave Ridley-Thomas’s son a “full-tuition scholarship and a paid professorship” as well as “a mechanism to funnel Ridley-Thomas campaign funds through the university to a non-profit to be operated by the relative.”

While investigating Ridley-Thomas, the prosecutors found emails that suggested Bass was the beneficiary of a similar agreement. In emails between Marilyn Flynn, then-Dean of the USC social work program that Bass would ultimately earn a master’s degree from while in Congress, and another school official, Flynn said she would offer Ridley-Thomas’ son a “full scholarship between the two schools. I did the same for Karen Bass – full scholarship for our funds.”

The investigation subsequently revealed that Bass received a $95,000 full-ride scholarship from USC beginning in 2011. As the LA Times notes, the scholarship was “more generous than grants typically given to other students.” When asked to produce her application for USC’s social work program, the Bass campaign released an application to attend classes on a “limited status.” According to USC’s own rules, students who attend classes on a limited status are not formally admitted and are barred from receiving financial aid.

Other details of the case also raise red flags. For instance, Bass failed to report the scholarship in her financial disclosures until 2019 – a mistake that her office blamed on a former staffer. The scholarship was also not advertised online, has not been offered since, and appears to have been a gift offered fully at the discretion of Dean Flynn. And shortly after enrolling in the program, Bass sponsored a bill in Congress which would have expanded access for USC and other institutions to federal funding for social work.

At this point, prosecutors maintain that Bass is not “a target or a subject of our office’s investigation.” Yet they have stated that her dealings with the university are “critical” to their broader investigation into corruption at the university. As both Flynn and Ridley-Thomas are set to stand trial in November, Bass’s involvement in the quid-pro-quo could come under increased scrutiny.

These allegations suggest deeply unethical behavior that is unfortunately not unprecedented. A recent LA Times report found that California legislators routinely leave office for lucrative fellowships and teaching positions at USC, which has an endowment of more than $8 billion and is considered one of the best schools in the country. The piece notes that former Los Angeles City Councilman Bernard Parks said he “wasn’t surprised to hear that Bass received the scholarship” because “that’s their history… They use their leverage on people they believe will help them now and in the future.”

For decades, universities have played an overtly activist and aggressive role in public policy. Although universities are legally prohibited from forming PACs or directly supporting candidates, individuals associated with various education institutions spent more than $64.5 million supporting Democratic candidates in 2018 alone, according to an Open Secrets report. Only $12 million was directed to Republican candidates. This is in addition to the $77.4 million that “Big Ed” spent on lobbyists.

While concerning, these donation and lobbying efforts are far from the most ethically questionable ties between Big Ed and elected officials. Democrat leaders and legislators will routinely use universities as a revolving door. Senator Elizabeth Warren, for instance, faced severe criticism when it was revealed that she received more than $400,000 from Harvard University for only teaching one class each semester. In 2019, Tucker Carlson dedicated an entire show to how unusual it is that Chelsea Clinton, Chris Cuomo, the Obama daughters, the son of Bill DeBlasio, all four Gore children, and the children of multiple Democrat senators all attend or attended elite ivy league universities.

It’s not just politicians who are gaming the system, either. In 2019, dozens of wealthy business and Hollywood elites were caught up in “Operation Varsity Blues,” a massive corruption scandal involving pay-for-play schemes at a number of prestigious U.S. institutions.

Karen Bass’s campaign for LA Mayor may not ultimately be undone by these latest revelations – after all, in deep blue California, voters have shown time and again they are willing to ignore any number of unsavory actions by a candidate with a “D” next to their name. But the implications of this scandal raise fresh concerns about corruption among the ranks of elected officials and officers at elite academic institutions that Americans should not ignore.

Andrew Abbott is the pen name of a writer and public affairs consultant with over a decade of experience in DC at the intersection of politics and culture.  

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PaulE
PaulE
1 year ago

Well if this were not in California, I would say the incumbent just lost any chance of re-election. However, this is in California where Democrat voters don’t seem to mind this sort of pay to play type corruption. So while the Republican challenger may be just a few points behind the incumbent, I would imagine that when the votes are all counted (all by Democrat Party loyalists by the way to ensure a “fair” outcome (meaning just enough of a margin of victory to win)), Karen Bass will be thanking her voters for giving her another term in office.

Michael J
Michael J
1 year ago

They don’t put names on building wings for nothing.
Officials of schools, hospitals or you name it who signs off on this kind of corruption seemingly are never included.

Kay
Kay
1 year ago

So more corruption what do you expect it is just California close to being renamed Mexico

Jay H.
Jay H.
1 year ago

I have no doubt this demoncr*p POS karen bass will be elected mayor in liberal pukeville california!! California politics is a fetid cesspool!!!

Wayne
Wayne
1 year ago

Like the story indicates it doesn’t matter how corrupt or what the very suspicious background is of a political candidate in California, the sheep will always vote democrat.

John A Bird
John A Bird
1 year ago

What patriotic Americans can do to resist the destruction of our constitutional republic.

First, recognize that the United States is not a functioning constitutional republic, but a government being deliberately transformed into a one-party totalitarian state.

The federal government, as an institution, is hopelessly corrupt and, although we have elections, we do not have a representative government. It cannot be reformed. It can only be ripped out and replaced.

Do not expect any top-down solutions for America’s problems to miraculously emerge from Washington D.C. The U.S. government has seceded from the people. Most members of Congress act more like foreign occupiers than executors of the views and needs of their constituents.

Angelo Codevilla noted that the United States already has a bona fide ruling class, which transcends government, a political aristocracy that sees itself as distinct from the rest of society and as the only element that may act on its behalf. The ruling class considers those who resist it as having no moral or intellectual right, and, now, any civil right as well.

Republican Party leaders neither contest that view nor vilify their Democrat counterparts because they do not want to challenge the ruling class, they want to be part of it.

The Republican leadership has solidified its choice to no longer represent what had been its constituency, but to adopt the identity of junior partners in the ruling class. By repeatedly passing bills that contradict the views of its voters, the Republican Party has made political orphans of tens of millions of Americans.

The only remaining course of action for patriotic American, who want to restore our constitutional republic, is a bottom-up political insurgency based on the Constitution and the Founding documents.

Foremost among them are the Second and Tenth Amendments.

The Second Amendment, “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms,” is now the only obstacle standing between freedom and the absolute tyranny the federal government now wishes to impose.

Buy firearms and lots of ammunition.

Identify constitutional sheriffs or law enforcement officers in your community and coordinate with them to form a “well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State.” That is, a militia capable of being deputized to fight against, not just criminality, but incursions by a tyrannical government.

Above all others, preserving the Second Amendment is the hill to die on.

The Second Amendment is not just the basis for the right of self-defense, but it is also the defense against tyranny and the guarantor of all other rights as the Founding Fathers recognized.

“The laws that forbid the carrying of arms are laws of such a nature. They disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes…. Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man.”

– Thomas Jefferson, Commonplace Book (quoting 18th-century criminologist Cesare Beccaria), 1774-1776

“To disarm the people…[i]s the most effective way to enslave them.”

– George Mason, referencing advice given to the British Parliament by Pennsylvania governor Sir William Keith, The Debates in the Several State Conventions on the Adoption of the Federal Constitution, June 14, 1788.

The Tenth Amendment states:

“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

Refuse to comply with and actively resist unlawful and unconstitutional edicts from the federal government.

Remove and replace any local official acting contrary to the interests of the people. Take control of the local government, prosecutors, and school boards. Coordinate your activities with other similarly-acting communities in your region. Create Democrat Party- and Establishment Republican-free zones.

Give Democrats a taste of their own medicine. As much as local law will permit, arrest and prosecute or organize civil lawsuits against individuals or organizations engaged in the destruction of our constitutional republic.

Identify by name, address and photograph all illegal aliens in your community, which will facilitate their later deportation. Challenge all local employers who hire illegal aliens and any non-governmental organization facilitating the transport or support of illegal aliens in your community. Launch lawsuits when appropriate.

Strictly enforce Equal Opportunity. Expose and eliminate programs promoting grooming and sexualization of children, Critical Race Theory, and all similar forms of anti-American indoctrination.

Immediately, state out loud and often that Joe Biden is not a legitimate President of the United States, but a usurper, who was installed in office through an election stolen by organized voter fraud. Until the November 3, 2020 election is satisfactorily addressed, there can be no election integrity and the United States will remain a banana, not a constitutional republic.

Admittedly, my list of actions by patriotic Americans to restore our constitutional republic is not exhaustive. Add your own ideas in the comments section.

In any case, the time for action is now. The collective effect of even the smallest acts of non-compliance can have an impact.

Lawrence Sellin, Ph.D. is a retired U.S. Army Reserve colonel and a veteran of Afghanistan and Iraq. He had a civilian career in international business and medical research. Dr. Sellin is the author of Restoring the Republic: Arguments for a Second American Revolution.

James P.
James P.
1 year ago

“Oooh, the corruption is strong in this one.”

Dennis Belotti
Dennis Belotti
1 year ago

No surprises here ! After all this is CALIFORNIA. Home of MR INFANTICIDE …Gov. Newsom !!!
Killing babies after their born is totally OK here.

Myrna Wade
Myrna Wade
1 year ago

Ignoring corruption encourages corruption.

Nick
Nick
1 year ago

Corruption connected to the Democrat Party? I’m shocked

Dave
Dave
1 year ago

Corruption, scandals, lying, cheating… these mean nothing to leftist voters. LA is infested with leftist cancer.We all know who’s going to win.

anna hubert
anna hubert
1 year ago

Corruption or no corruption scandal or no scandal the show goes on ,it’s up to the voter to pelt them with rotten tomatoes and boo them out

Joearcher
Joearcher
1 year ago

She will probably win anyway. Remember D.C. Mayor Marion Barry? In 1990 he was arrested on charges of possession of cocaine. Hunter Biden even boasted that he “smoked crack” as a college student with him. Barry went to prison, then recaptured City Hall in one of the most improbable comebacks in the history of American politics. Nothing they do matters, as long as there is a D after their name.

ezed2109
ezed2109
1 year ago

There is NOTHING in the Constitution authorizing the Federal Government to have any kind of role in Education. Education is a States Rights issue. Period. The whole Department of Education needs to go!
We need an Article V Convention of States! Article V empowers the States to put forward Amendments! A Convention of States. This starts with us the people.
– Limit the power and jurisdiction of the federal government
– Impose fiscal restraints on the federal government
– Limit the terms of office for its officials and for members of Congress
Congress will never fix these issues.
Become informed and engaged consider this movement which is already millions of Americans strong and growing. Consider signing the petition.
conventionofstates.com/?ref=53458

Stephen Russell
Stephen Russell
1 year ago

LA city govt has been corrupt since 40s era alone see Chinatown 1974 movie on water issues

Philip Hammersley
Philip Hammersley
1 year ago

Poor people keep voting for the people who keep them poor! You’d think at some point they’d WISE UP!

Morbious
Morbious
1 year ago

The last paragraph tells the tale. Basses voters consider it a plus that she was able to scam successfully. For people whove played by the rules all their lives this reality is disturbing but its the way it is in blue cities.

Lawrence Greenberg
Lawrence Greenberg
1 year ago

A corrupt Democrat? I’m shocked, just shocked I tell you…

Barrett Smith
Barrett Smith
1 year ago

Finding an honest Democrat is like finding a five-leaf clover.

William C Smith
William C Smith
1 year ago

Keep digging!

TPS
TPS
1 year ago

Nothing new politicians stuffing their pockets. Hmmm

James carlyle
James carlyle
1 year ago

Los Ángeles, California: A location and a way of life to be avoided by all those seeking good health, freedom, security and general well being in life experiences.

Meg mano
Meg mano
1 year ago

Just typical of the shenanigans Democrats engage in. They are so lame and should not hold any office in America. I used to listen to them and sometimes agree but the New Left Democrat-forget it! Good riddance to bad rubbish!

Denise
Denise
1 year ago

I remember my childhood in California in the 50’s. Clean, beautiful, safe, open hills, kids dream, horse back riders coming down the street we lived on…then the demorats, like a plague of blow flies, (and lets not forget the rinos…worse in their treason) began swarming in, “questionable elections”… California today: dirty, forests ignored for years, rampant fires, vagrants using city sidewalks as outhouses, criminal “justice” MIA, like virtually every other demorat controlled state, rules for thee but not for “me”. Repeat violent criminals turned loose to prey on citizens…who’re not allowed to protect themselves. California the once Golden State, destroyed by greed, those bloodthirsty for control…now little more than a dumping ground for everything ugly.

Daniel N Birch
Daniel N Birch
1 year ago

Who would have guessed it? Politicians and universities are crooked? Well, I’ll be!

Jenny Ford
Jenny Ford
1 year ago

Nobody does CORRUPTION as well as the democrats!!! Thanks for the article AMAC!!!!!!

John
John
1 year ago

This is just the surface of Democrat corruption. They have been funneling money to themselves or their cronies from the many special interest programs they have funded. For Democrats a culture of corruption is the rule not the exception. BLM was another example of how Leftists behave. Democrats stole the 2020 election because it was worth it. But now they have become greedy and are getting caught.

Caren
Caren
1 year ago

So basically, as usual, nothing will be done about it.

Jeffrey Wilson
Jeffrey Wilson
1 year ago

Tired of demorat idiots vote them out!

Phil Brown
Phil Brown
1 year ago

Corrupt politicians with a D after their names not only get a full pass from legacy media, but are routinely defended, at no direct cost to them, given opposition candidate backing masquerading as journalism while they’re provided outright political protection from the praetorian guard who call themselves a free press. No wonder a majority think American democracy is in trouble: hotair.com/jazz-shaw/2022/10/19/poll-majority-think-american-democracy-is-in-trouble-n504355And that a strong majority feel the MSM isn’t to be trusted, with 59% of voters thinking they’re a “major threat” to Democracy:hotair.com/david-strom/2022/10/20/boom-59-of-voters-think-msm-is-a-major-threat-to-democracy-nyt-siena-poll-n504577The LA Times is replete with these lobbying efforts for leftist candidates. This one is no different. They have heartily endorsed yet another political grifter for hapless Californians who still bother paying them attention:latimes.com/opinion/story/2022-10-13/endorsement-karen-bass-for-los-angeles-mayor

Marie Langley
Marie Langley
1 year ago

Typical Democrat corruption. Show me a democrat that is honest and I will eat my paycheck.

Pj
Pj
1 year ago

If we hold ourselves and our children accountable why aren’t the Democrats as well?!

Joseph Carlson
Joseph Carlson
1 year ago

Doesn’t surprise me. The Democratic leadership in any form feels they are not accountable for their actions, until they are caught, and then they deny, deny and deny. Unfortunately this trend will not stop. Why anyone would vote democrat is beyond me. The Democratic Party does not care for the American people, or America. We see that since Biden’s regime started. Better vote Republican to keep some semblance of the America we knew.

Jerry
Jerry
1 year ago

It appears that you must be a liar and a crook to be a DemonRat.

Elaine
Elaine
1 year ago

Sad to say but if the voter are allowing criminals to govern perhaps they are not competent to vote!there has to be laws in place that prohibit a by criminal from running for offices

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