Former Councilman Caranci set to release book on corruption

Former Councilman Caranci set to release book on corruption

NORTH PROVIDENCE – Local historian Paul Caranci and author Thomas Blacke have collaborated on a new book that they say “defines political corruption.”

“Scoundrels: Defining Corruption Through Tales of Political Intrigue in Rhode Island” is different in that it looks at political corruption not from the point of view of whether a prosecutable crime has been committed, but rather on the “corrosive nature” of the corrupt actions.

“It has been said that political corruption is as old as government itself,” said Caranci, who, as a former North Providence Town Council member, was the FBI’s informant in the case to bring down three local councilmen in a corruption scheme. “Yet despite its timeless nature and its devastating impact on society, political corruption remains an elusive term that is difficult to define.”

The book, which will discuss corruption in North Providence, is the prelude to Caranci’s upcoming book detailing his own experiences in town.

Noting that it is impossible to fully grasp the impact of political corruption on government and society as a whole without first having a cursory understanding of what corruption is and how it is measured, the authors develop three classifications of political corruption: traditional, circumstantial and situational. Each category has both an active and a passive component, they write.

Using several infamous instances of corruption in Rhode Island politics as its framework, Caranci’s book attempts to define what has not always been easily recognized and long eluded traditional definition. The book examines and categorizes various forms of corruption that have negative and deteriorating effects, not only on the individuals who fall victim to the corrupt acts, but also on society as a whole.

“Up until now, various integrity studies that are used to determine the annual list of the nation’s most corrupt states use some variation of indictments and/or convictions as a percentage of population,” said the authors.

The ratio-based formulas ignore the fact that not all corruption is illegal and not all corruption is prosecutable.

“Self-serving acts that stand in violation of various ethics laws, for example, are not considered in the formula used to determine corruption comparisons,” states a release. “Yet these acts have no less a deleterious effect on society as they serve to increase the tax burden, impede efforts to attract business, erode public trust and confidence in government and have many additional detrimental impacts.”

The book “is an unsettling chronicle of corruption in our times,” said the authors. They added that the stories will “evoke a multitude of emotions” and “infuriate the reader.” Until all citizens unite in opposing and exposing corruption, nothing in society will change, said the release, “and our government of the people, by the people and for the people will continue to hurt the people it was intended to help.”

The book is published by Stillwater River Publications and is scheduled for release the first week of February at a sale price of $19.99. For more information, or to pre-order a copy, email Paul Caranci at municipalheritage@gmail.com .