A Politician Describes "Honest Graft."
Everybody is talking these days about Tammany men growing rich on graft. But nobody thinks of drawing the distinction between honest graft and dishonest graft. There's all the difference in the world between the two. Yes, many of our men have grown rich'in politics. I have, myself. I've made a big fortune out of the game, and I'm getting richer every day. But I've not gone in for dishonest graft --- blackmailing gamblers, saloon keepers, disorderly people, etc.-and neither has any of the men who have made big fortunes in politics.
There's an honest graft, and I'm an example of how it works. I might sum up the whole thing by saying: "I seen my opportunities and I took 'em." Just let me explain by examples. My party's in power in the city, and it's going to undertake a lot of public improvements. Well, I'm tipped off, say, that they're going to lay out a new park at a certain place.
I see my opportunity and I take it. I go to that place, and I buy up all the land I can in the neighbor- hood. Then the board of this or that makes its plan public, and there is a rush to get my land, which nobody cared particular for before, Ain't it perfectly honest to charge a good price and make a profit on my investment and foresight? Of course it is. Well, that's honest graft.