National Affairs: Reckoning

Congressman J. Parnell Thomas sat disconsolately in Washington's district court last week, a pudgy, petulant man whose high-riding days were over.

The prosecution's evidence was overwhelming. Thomas had padded his congressional payroll for eight years with fictitious employees and pocketed most of their salaries for himself. On the third day of his trial for fraud, as some of Congressman Thomas' non-working "employees" prepared to testify against him, he surrendered. He withdrew his plea of not guilty and entered a no-contest plea to four charges of conspiracy and fraud. Liable to as much as 32 years in prison and fines totalling $40,000, Parnell...

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