Local Councilman Chuck McCullough Charged

Chuck McCulloughAs reported by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Upper St. Clair resident and Republican councilman-at-large for Allegheny County Council Chuck McCullough was indicted and arrested this past week on charges he misused his power of attorney over a trust belonging to Ms. Shirley Jordan, a 91-year old widow.

Charges filed by Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala allege McCullough directed funds from Ms. Jordan’s trust to many local Republican campaigns, including $10,000 to local Republican Councilman Vince Gastgeb, for his 2007 campaign versus Democrat Barbara Logan. Gastgeb’s council district covers many MESH communities including Upper St. Clair, Bethel Park, and Mt. Lebanon. Barbara is a former Mt. Lebanon councilwoman commissioner and now a MESH member herself.

Tyco tycoonI cannot help but feel these charges are emblematic of the attitude of our so-called leaders in general thoughout the current era. Time after time we have seen Republican administrations treat our government’s agencies as their personal and political spoils of war just for having won an election. Time after time we have witnessed the hubris of corporate executives who converted to their own use the coffers of those to whom they owed a fiduciary duty. Anymore these days it seems like there isn’t a pot of money that hasn’t been ransacked or an institution’s integrity that hasn’t been gutted by the very people who were supposed to guard and husband these national resources.

McCullough’s actions, if true, would represent but one small example of the prevailing culture of leadership these past years, the legacy of which we will be recovering from for decades. Here follows is a partial list of the grand scale of theft that I can think of off the top of my head. But there have been so many for so long that one man’s memory fails. Please add more in your comments and I’ll add them.

  • Enron / Worldcom / Tyco / Adelphia executives robbing shareholders
  • Nixon using the IRS to audit enemies
  • SEC neutered to allow Wall Street free rein
  • Moody’s bond ratings for sale
  • Social security made a pyramid scheme
  • National intelligence perverted to political aims
  • Justice Department made a political arm of the Republican Party
  • Military thrown into Somalia to bog down Clinton
  • Reagan/Bush make separate peace with Iranian students to win election
  • Savings and Loans misuse FDIC guarantees

and of course biggest Big Lie of all:

  • Bush/Cheney hijack 911 response to advance their personal Iraq agenda

McCullough’s alleged actions may seem petty compared to these, but they are of a kind with the national tragedies listed above and differ only in degree. In each case, someone charged with protecting a resource converted it to their own use instead. I say fie!

Sometimes we all feel helpless to affect these national events, but here in the South Hills is our very own example of it and maybe there is something we can do together about that. Maybe it’s time to restore basic values and integrity to our own little corner of the world.

What do you think?