Corruption is not restricted to city government in the United States. Rather, it occurs both frequently and with increasing frequency at all levels of government. This fact is significant in the development of strategies to reduce corruption in city government, because the pervasiveness of corruption in American governments suggests the existence of a societal value structure which is tolerant of corrupt governmental practices.
Corruption in city government may appear to be more pervasive than that in other levels of government because city government is closer to the citizenry than are most other levels of government. Corruption in city government may actually be more pervasive than in other levels of government because more opportunities for corrupt acts are available to a greater proportion of public employees in city government than in other levels of government.
The Extent and Character of Corruption American City Government
The extent and character of corruption in city government in the United States may be illustrated through a consideration of the corruption which existed in New York City government during the tenure as mayor of Ed Koch. Political corruption in New York City government is popularly conceived as an almost continuous phenomenon since the days of "Boss" Tweed in the mid1800s.1 Corruption certainly occurred during the mayoral reign of Ed Koch, who, somewhat ironically, entered office as a reformer.2 During the reign of Mayor Koch, Queens Borough President Donald Manes, as an example, was found to be involved in a political bribery operation, which involved, among others Koch appointees Herb Ryan and Stanley Friedman.3 When a New York City Department of Investigation sting operation uncovered Ryan's involvement, Koch was informed that further investigation of Ryan might lead directly to Manes. Koch then ordered the sting operation closed, and only Ryan was arrested.
In another example, whe...