Mayor Stole Public Money, But Was Re-Elected When the Town Heard His Excuse
Usually, stealing money from constituents isn’t the best way to get re-elected as mayor. However, stranger things have happened.
Just look at Marion Barry.
Back in 2014, Hilario Ramírez was looking to pull off a Barry-like comeback. Ramirez hails from San Blas, a town in Nayarit state on Mexico’s Pacific coast.
Unlike many disgraced public officials, Ramirez didn’t deny stealing the money. Oh, no. Instead, according to the BBC, Ramírez’s excuse was that he only stole un poquito of the municipality’s money. And stole it for the town’s own good.
“They say I stole a lot of money,” Ramírez said on the campaign trail. Indeed, the candidate, who was first elected in 2008, was accused of stealing $1.5 million, which I guess in certain circles qualifies as a minor take.
“I did steal, but it was only a little because the government was in crisis.” He also promised to sort out the crisis
Ramirez, who ran as an independent, also put himself forward as a kind of Robin Hood-like character, saying he robbed from the government with one hand and gave to the poor with the other.
“I’ve been criticized because they say I like money… but who doesn’t like it?” Ramírez admitted.
We commonly preach that honesty is the best policy, but this doesn’t always work that well in practice, at least in the political arena. Legislators only admit to transgressions when they’ve pretty much been cornered by the facts — and even then, they do that delicate rhetorical dance where they “take full responsibility” for actions nobody was ascribing responsibility to anyone else for.
But the approach Ramirez took seemed to work out for him.
According to Mexico News Daily, Ramírez won the 2014 election and used it as a springboard to run for governor of Nayarit. In spite of the fact that “(h)is two terms as mayor of San Blas have been marked by scandals and lavish celebrations,” he still thought he was a good candidate for an electoral promotion.
“I have no political enemies, I have no enemies, let them look into my past,” Ramírez said in 2017.
Alas, Ramírez didn’t win the gubernatorial election.
Who knows, though? As his election in 2014 proved, there’s always room for someone who stole just a little bit of money. It’s not like he was an American Democrat or something.
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