Monday, September 10, 2007

A Scheme to enrich Judges and their Legislator Friends

Southern Hospitality, Tulane Style

Diverting Taxpayer Money Into the Hands of Legislators and Judges

How Tulane's scholarship scheme works

Instead of paying taxes to the state, Tulane is obligated by an old Louisiana law to place scholarship waivers into the hands of state legislators and the mayor of New Orleans, who then select the awardees. The law's original purpose was to make a college education available to qualified citizens who could not afford the cost. However, revelations made possible by lawsuits to divulge the names of scholarship recipients showed that many judges and legislators and their relatives have been the beneficiaries of Tulane scholarship gifts. These same judges and legislators have gone on, respectively, to sit in cases in which Tulane was a party and to engage in legislative processes in which Tulane had an interest. Ethics and judicial propriety are among the casualties of this scheme insofar as the indebtedness created by the scholarship gifts has influenced court judgments in cases in which Tulane was a party. This relationship, illustrated schematically in the following figure, complements Tulane's sponsorship of trips for judges and appears to violate federal statutes. [more]

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