Aaron Broussard’s guilty plea to two of 27 corruption charges leveled against him by federal prosecutors is a reminder that political corruption in Louisiana continues to require the active vigilance of the criminal justice system.
Broussard, former president of Jefferson Parish, pleaded guilty to charges related to the hiring of his then-girlfriend for a do-nothing job that provided the couple with $323, 308 over six years. Former Jefferson Parish Attorney Tom Wilkinson also pleaded guilty to conspiring the conceal the payroll fraud.
Broussard’s long tenure in Jefferson Parish politics made him a well-known figure around the state. His downfall is a tragic case study in what happens when elected officials abuse the public’s trust. Broussard is the fifth person to plead guilty in connection with the corruption probe. He is scheduled to be sentenced for his crimes on Feb. 25.
While the discovery of corruption is always troubling, we’re gratified that officials who misused their office for personal gain were prosecuted. That kind of accountability is needed to let other public servants know that their misdeeds can have serious consequences.
New corruption cases in Louisiana are especially troubling because of the state’s longstanding reputation as a place where political mischief is tolerated. That reputation can diminish Louisiana’s ability to attract new residents and grow its business climate.
We hope the successful prosecutions that have resulted so far in this corruption probe help deter other public officials from letting greed get in the way of their sworn oaths to uphold the public trust.
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