Although it happens on rare occasions, politicians are almost never held accountable for the crimes they commit while in office. In one recent case, a mayor was actually found guilty of corruption but he was still able to keep his job.
Mayor John McNally of Youngstown, Ohio recently pleaded guilty to four misdemeanor counts including unlawful influence of a public official. However, he was able to cut a deal that allows him to remain in office. McNally was accused of being involved in similar scandals in the past, but was able to avoid prosecution.
Following his guilty plea, Mahoning County Democratic Party Chair David Betras called for McNally’s resignation.
Betras released the following statement:
As I have said from the beginning, I believed Mayor McNally had the right to remain in office pending the disposition of the charges filed against him. In light of the fact that he today pleaded guilty to four misdemeanors related directly to his official duties as an elected officials, I believe he should resign. At the very least, I believe he should not seek reelection when his term expires. If he does not the voters will have their say when it comes time for his reelection.
I would note for the record that it would not be unprecedented for an elected official to remain in office after pleading guilty to misdemeanor charges. Governor Robert Taft, who pleaded no contest to and was subsequently convicted of four misdemeanors related to his failure to disclose that he accepted 52 gifts from lobbyists, chose not to resign and remained in office for the remainder of his term.
While that precedent does exist, it is my hope that Mayor McNally resign.
But I know the decision is ultimately his because he is not obligated to resign.
McNally will be sentenced on March 28, and he says that he has no intention of resigning.
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