PAY-OFF: The Role of Organized Crime in American Politics by Michael Dorman

PAY-OFF: The Role of Organized Crime in American Politics

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To cover up his lack of anything new or bold to say on the subject, Dorman resorts to a groupie strategy -- he mobs the reader with sincere if flighty alarums about the omnipresence of organized crime and endless shopworn examples of Mafia penetration of government and business at all levels, hoping apparently that his willingness to put out in quantity will serve in lieu of true investigative reporting. The result is a quickie survey without significant depth or analytical substance, a slam-bang enumeration of recent racketeer-politician exposes: l'affaires Marcus-Tony Ducks, Colombo, Voloshen-Sweig-McCormack, Addonizio, etc.; even reruns of those now scratchy Sam the Plumber/ De Carlo tapes (yes, again!). All Dorman's case histories have been aired previously and publicly, many receiving wide media and press coverage, as his sources -- Life, congressional hearings, the report of the President's Commission on Law Enforcement, and so on -- readily indicate. The rather sad part is that Dorman did do some legwork for this book, but his interviews usually end up eliciting flatulent blandishments or breezy put-downs. For instance when he questions former Justice Tom Clark about a story concerning his association with Texas bagman Jack Halfen, Clark laughs it off: ""You know what the truth of it was? My wife loves blackeyed peas. And I'd picked up a box of blackeyed peas for her. That's all that was in the box, blackeyed peas."" Dorman writes it down, then moves on, undaunted, to new (old) tales of obliquity. In the much too brief but useful final section, he reviews current administration efforts to fox organized crime; unlike Clark Mollenhoff (see Strike Force, p. 179), he's not overly impressed with the accomplishments of the Nixon-Mitchell strike force program, nor does he believe the Organized Crime Act of 1970 provides all the answers; rather, he lobbies for creation of an independent federal investigation commission ""to root out corruption throughout government,"" application of anti-trust laws to syndicate crime, and a complete revision of laws regarding political campaign contributions and expenditures. These are sensible (if hardly revolutionary) proposals and it is a pity he felt it necessary to spend 95% of his time retreading familiar kickbacks. N.B. -- Dorman's Pay-Off should not be confused with Winter-Berger's Washington Pay-Off which is a much more sensational and intimate affair.

Pub Date: June 5th, 1972
Publisher: McKay