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12/23/08

Meet Corruption-Ridden Attorney General Jerry Brown

Let's start with what we know. Attorney General Brown's office was deeply involved with his good friend Norman Hsu, the infamous Democrat fund raiser. When Hsu failed to appear for sentencing in a fraud conviction in 1992, Brown negotiated a 50% reduction in bail with Hsu's attorneys which was overturned by the court. Brown then let Hsu off on bail without taking his passport, breaking standard procedure, and Hsu fled the state. Brown received $3,000 political contribution from Norman Hsu's associate, Winkle Paw. Winkle Paw also fled the state. Though they had never donated to a campaign before 2004, Hsu got $213,000 out of the family, including $55,000 to Hillary Clinton, though the father was only a mailman. Brown praised Hsu at a 2006 Democratic Party event according to an LA Times article that is strangely now missing.

But it gets much worse. According to 1970's reporter Richard Brenneman and investigative journalist Gus Russo's 2005 book, Brown took campaign contributions from some of America's top mob figures and, in return, granted them political favors. Sidney Korshak, whom the Godfather character Tom Hagen is based off of, the infamous Chicago mobster (where has the Chicago mob been in the news lately?), was a "pal" of Brown’s father. He donated heavily to Brown's political campaign. Lew Wasserman and Jake ‘the Barber’ are two more huge mobsters who donated heavily to his campaign. This was achieved by Richard Silberman, Brown's chief fund-raiser for his 1974 governor campaign, who was convicted in a 1991 FBI drug-ring money-laundering scheme.

Russo alleged that Brown gave favors back to the mobsters in return. He appointed the brother-in-law of Korshak associate Edward Hanley a director of the California Agricultural Association. Hanley then "named the concessionaires at all the state’s racetracks and county fairs." Profit from these cencessions were skimmed off and given to mobsters.

Enter Gray Davis. The disgraced former governor was a Jerry Brown associate heavily involved in the racetrack corruption according to Russo . A Doonesbury cartoon of all things reported this. A reporter asks Gray Davis: "Let me get this straight, Gray—who exactly did Jerry solicit the contribution from?" Gray answers: "A guy named Sidney Korshak. He’s the local low-life, an alumnus from the Capone mob."

San Francisco Chronicle reporter Robert Gunnison reported in 1998: "Brown … appointed [Davis] to the California Horse Racing Board in 1979. It was a particularly volatile time for the panel. Critics said he was appointed to help Service Employees International Union clerks during a strike at Golden Gate Fields. The union’s lawyer, Sidney Korshak, was alleged by the state attorney general to be an organized crime figure."

This was all widely reported at the time, but has since disappeared from media caches and from public memory.

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