Charlotte Mayor Arrested for Taking Bribes; Read the Charges Here

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
March 26 2014 2:18 PM

Charlotte Mayor Arrested for Taking Bribes; Read the Charges Here

Charlotte Mayor-elect Patrick Cannon, second from left, peeks out from behind Seattle Mayor-elect Ed Murray after a meeting between President Obama and a group of newly elected mayors from across the country on Dec. 13, 2013, in Washington, D.C.

Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images

Patrick Cannon, who was elected mayor of Charlotte just five months ago, has been arrested after a four-year FBI sting that caught him taking bribes. According to the DOJ, "between January 2013 and February 2014, Cannon allegedly accepted from the undercover agents over $48,000 in cash, airline tickets, a hotel room, and use of a luxury apartment in exchange for the use of his official position."

Some context: This has been a bad couple of months for the Democrats who triumped in 2012 and 2013. Charlotte is one of the few major cities that's relatively competitive between the parties. Cannon won his race by only 6 points; the last mayor once removed, Pat McCrory, was a Republican who made it to the governor's office. The mayor immediately before Cannon, Anthony Foxx, was headhunted by the Obama administration to become its current secretary of transportation. Among their predecessors: former Rep. Sue Myrick, nearly-successful Senate candidate Harvey Gannt. The point is that a fortysomething, African-American mayor of North Carolina's largest city had quite a political future, unless he frittered it away by taking bribes.


It gets worse. In 2012 Democratic Rep. Bob Filner became the first member of his party in a generation to run San Diego. Filner's epic run of sexual harassment complaints drove him (eventually, and after some creepy smiling) out of office. Six weeks ago Republicans took back the mayoralty. And for months FBI stings have been taking down Democratic California state senators, the latest of them being Leland Yee, who is (nobody laugh) apparently tied to "infamous Chinatown gangster Raymond 'Shrimp Boy' Chow." The resignations have cost California Democrats their supermajority in the upper house.

None of this makes sense to me, just like former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell's implosion made no sense. Why take bribes? Why not wait out your term and take a job on a corporate board where you can collect money for "consulting"?

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 


Medical Examiner

The Most Terrifying Thing About Ebola 

The disease threatens humanity by preying on humanity.

I Bought the Huge iPhone. I’m Already Thinking of Returning It.

Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.

Students Aren’t Going to College Football Games as Much Anymore

And schools are getting worried.

Two Damn Good, Very Different Movies About Soldiers Returning From War

The XX Factor

Lifetime Didn’t Think the Steubenville Rape Case Was Dramatic Enough

So they added a little self-immolation.


Blacks Don’t Have a Corporal Punishment Problem

Americans do. But when blacks exhibit the same behaviors as others, it becomes part of a greater black pathology. 

Why a Sketch of Chelsea Manning Is Stirring Up Controversy

How Worried Should Poland, the Baltic States, and Georgia Be About a Russian Invasion?

Trending News Channel
Sept. 19 2014 1:11 PM Watch Flashes of Lightning Created in a Lab  
  News & Politics
Sept. 20 2014 11:13 AM -30-
Business Insider
Sept. 20 2014 6:30 AM The Man Making Bill Gates Richer
Sept. 20 2014 7:27 AM How Do Plants Grow Aboard the International Space Station?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 4:58 PM Steubenville Gets the Lifetime Treatment (And a Cheerleader Erupts Into Flames)
  Slate Plus
Slate Picks
Sept. 19 2014 12:00 PM What Happened at Slate This Week? The Slatest editor tells us to read well-informed skepticism, media criticism, and more.
Sept. 21 2014 11:00 AM Sometimes You Just Need to Print Your Photos the Old-Fashioned Way 
Future Tense
Sept. 19 2014 6:31 PM The One Big Problem With the Enormous New iPhone
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 21 2014 8:00 AM An Astronaut’s Guided Video Tour of Earth
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.