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Commentary, sarcasm and snide remarks from a Florida resident of over thirty years. Being a glutton for punishment is a requirement for residency here. Who am I? I've been called a moonbat by Michelle Malkin, a Right Wing Nut by Daily Kos, and middle of the road by Florida blog State of Sunshine. Tell me what you think.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

You steal from us but we love you

Here is some news from North Carolina. Just makes me shake my head. Mr. Ballance served himself and there are people are too blind to see it. That's why we get politicians like him and this one. People condone or make excuses for their corruption.

Hat tip- Peer Review
Open Post- Basil's Blog, Adam's Blog,

Former U.S. Rep. Frank Ballance walked into a spartan community center Wednesday night a felon who admitted diverting public money to his law firm, family and church.
But the more than 100 people who greeted him there saw him as nothing less than a civil rights hero who has been unjustly sentenced to four years in federal prison.

The event was a fund-raiser to help Ballance pay his legal bills. The former congressman said he had paid all fines and restitution with his own money. A rally held two weeks ago in Murfreesboro drew about 300 people.

The sponsors of Wednesday's tribute called it a "People's Freedom Rally," and it took on the feel of a church service with gospel songs and Bible quotations such as, "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone."

Some wore orange ribbons to symbolize the jail sentences that minorities are serving and dabbed their fingers in orange paint to symbolize the injustice they see in the court system.

"When you needed him, he has always been there," said Marilyn Harris of Roanoke Rapids, one of more than a dozen people who offered testimonials on Ballance's behalf. She told the crowd how Ballance spared her brother from a year in a state training school that he did not deserve.

Ballance, 63, is scheduled to begin his sentence Friday at a federal prison in Butner for steering roughly $100,000 in public money from an anti-drug program he founded to his law firm, church and relatives.

The money was among $2.3 million Ballance had directed to the John A. Hyman Memorial Youth Foundation from 1994 to 2003 while he served as a state lawmaker. But the nonprofit foundation failed to file federal tax returns and the required state financial reports. When that became public nearly three years ago, it triggered a state audit that turned up more than $325,000 in questionable spending.

On Nov. 9, 2004, Ballance pleaded guilty to a single count of conspiracy related to funneling $15,500 to his law firm, $20,000 to his son, Garey Ballance, to buy a Lincoln Navigator, and $5,000 to his daughter for computer services that she did not perform.

Garey Ballance, a state District Court judge, admitted evading taxes on the $20,000, and he received nine months in prison. He also is to report to Butner; the conviction cost him his judicial post.

Until the foundation's irregularities surfaced, Frank Ballance, a Warrenton Democrat, had built a reputation as a fighter for the disenfranchised.

He represented poor defendants facing criminal charges and fought for integration in the schools, government and the justice system.

Ballance was mostly upbeat but dabbed at his eyes as people spoke of his service. His wife, Bernadine, and his mother, Alice, sat beside him.

"I'm so glad that I have friends who are so willing to step up even when the press wants to turn a positive into a negative," Ballance said when he addressed the crowd later in the evening.

In interviews with reporters, he admitted that he made mistakes in accounting for the foundation's finances, but he denied profiting from them. He said, for example, that the money to his firm covered legal services for an indigent client who had been wrongly accused.

"I've not done anything that deserves four years in prison," Ballance said.

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