In an unprecedented move, U.S. Attorney Steven Dettlebach is asking companies help fight government corruption, by standing up to officials seeking bribes and other illegal compensation. According to Cleveland’s The Plain Dealer, Dettelbach is asking businesses take a pledge of honest and ethical behavior when dealing with government agencies.
The action comes on the heels of the largest ever public corruption trial in Cuyahoga County involving County Commissioner Jimmy Dimora and more than 50 others accused of demanding kickbacks in a pay-to-play culture within a number of city and county agencies. Former County Auditor and Dimora confidant, Frank Russo, pleaded guilty to corruption charges and faces up to 22 years in prison. Other recent scandals in the area involve the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District and the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority.
The pledge is intended to help businesses and their employees deal with public officials trying to shake them down. Companies that sign the pledge will become part of the Northeast Ohio Business Ethics Coalition and will be eligible for training sessions on how to best deal with inappropriate requests from public officials.