1. Who doesn’t love Leslie Knope?
Her staff loves her for sure. They go to great lengths to help her.
2. She’s a hyper-organized advocate for all things craft and cultural.
3. Nobody puts on a better festival. She practically is a mobile festival.
4. But there is a dark side. Her transition to politician has led to a litany of corrupt and criminal acts.
It’s really upsetting when you take it all in.
5. She’s only been investigated once for ethics violations. It was just an intra-office romance. But…
… she bribed a city employee to cover it up. Her boyfriend took the fall and was forced to resign. This was the beginning of a reckless campaign.
6. During her City Council campaign, she promised to raise police officer pensions to secure a crucial endorsement.
The boyfriend, who had resigned in disgrace and was by then running her campaign for City Council, clandestinely passed the police chief a message promising police higher pensions. Honest services fraud? Illegal quid pro quo? Many a federal corruption case have been based on less.
7. She showed up for an interview with Indiana’s most prominent reporter completely inebriated.
During the interview, she admitted she was drunk. It’s hard to imagine a candidate for any office recovering from this. She desperately tried to figure out how to keep the show from airing. Luckily …
8. Airport employees loyal to her campaign stole the reporter’s footage and destroyed it.
Hard to imagine a more outrageous attack on personal property and the Fourth Estate. The incident was not investigated by Pawnee police. Obviously.
9. Once elected, her efforts to decieve continued. When she discovered that a rival politician had a competing plan for an empty lot she hoped to improve, she littered the site with fake Native American artifacts to halt development.
She confided in Chief Hotate of the Wamapoke tribe, who decided to cover up her actions and threaten Knope’s rival and partners at the fast food restaurant. (The corruption in Pawnee is rampant: That city councilor was set to receive a kickback from the burger chain.)
10. Then she faced a recall campaign. Surprise.
11. Just as she did to win the race, she has enlisted paid city employees to help her stay in office.
12. She even directed them to deface campaign signs.
This is also illegal.
13. All in all, as admirable as her service in the city has been, she has had a terrible political career.
If she wasn’t silently condoning the theft and destruction of a journalist’s property or bribing powerful city leaders, she was misusing public resources and violating voters’ trust. Her recall was as justified.
14. The recall helped, but now it’s time to keep an eye on this guy.
Knope was recently confronted with a decision: Her now husband was fired from a job at a local candy corporation after she made disparaging remarks about the company.
She could have done the dirty thing and retracted her comments and gotten him his job back.
But she didn’t. Perhaps humbled by the recall, she avoided another scandal.
He left the job but now, mysteriously, he is set to become the city manager. This, of course, even though he resigned from the city in disgrace and offered a campaign quid pro quo to the police chief.
In Pawnee, apparently, that’s just how the game is played.