Our Ugly Ruling Class

Few things so clearly reveal the innermost ugliness and presumptuousness of our ruling class clustered in and around Washington DC (where eight of the ten highest-income counties in the nation now cluster) than the recent Wall Street Journal news account of a “scandal” in DC-area little league baseball. It seems politically powerful people, especially elite lawyers, rigged the local little league process for creating a level playing field among teams to guarantee that their own little leaguers were on the little league equivalent of the 1927 Yankees—steamrolling all opposition on the way to a “championship.”

The Northwest Washington Little League, in a tony part of the nation’s capital, had a draft system to spread out talent, so no one squad could assemble a juggernaut like the ‘27 Yankees.

What if, Klisch wondered, somebody was cheating? Not tobacco-spit-on-the-baseball kind of cheating, but the kind that happens in the front office.

Emotions can run high in Little League, a touchstone of childhood for millions, and while blowouts sometimes raise suspicions of foul play, most parents keep the speculation to a whisper.

That isn’t the case when the moms and dads of Little Leaguers are law-firm partners, lobbyists and other Beltway heavy-hitters. . .

They [a suspicious parents’ group] eventually accused coach Ricky Davenport-Thomas, in a formal letter to the league, of bending rules to stack his team with talent and falsifying paperwork to bring ineligible players into the league.

They alleged the coach poached an elite player from a nearby league but ranked the boy’s abilities as average ahead of the spring 2022 draft, so he could choose him in the fourth round and avoid using his first pick. Davenport-Thomas was also accused of paying himself and his friends with league funds to coach teams, even though the league was mostly volunteer-run.

It is quite a tangled tale culminating in—wait for it—a lawsuit, complete with charges of whistleblower retaliation and witness intimidation.

As things often go in D.C., a blue-ribbon panel was convened and a special counsel appointed.

In September, the league’s board established a “Special Committee of Northwest Washington Little League” and called in prominent white-shoe law firm Steptoe, whose specialties include government investigations and high-stakes litigation. . .

In a written statement to The Wall Street Journal after this article was published, league president Ashleigh Coniglio said, “the fact that a Steptoe partner’s child was on a NWLL team was completely unrelated to Steptoe taking on this case and its work on the case.”

Yes, that is how “things often go” in Washington, but the Journal misses the real scandal here (which is why I put it in scare quotes in the lede): The real scandal is that we are governed but these endlessly grasping, petty, and self-entitled people. Draining the swamp isn’t enough. Salt the earth inside the Beltway and pave it over.

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