The more things seem to change...Seems familiar somehow:
"The System in Cleveland at that time [1880s] was simple and imperfect. Business men supported it. There was no boss, and such leading politicians as the city boasted were nothing but business men's political agents. They depended largely upon the campaign funds contributed by the business men. In return the business men could get what they wanted out of the city, and they let the politicians do about as they pleased with the rest."
"They didn't always use cash bribery. Mulhern, who picked the the president and organized councils, came to control more and more departments, and he had the patronage of these to dispense to the friends and followers of pliable councilmen. But this was making the city pay for its own corruption..."
-- from "OHIO: A Tale of Two Cities," [Cincinnati and Cleveland] The Struggle for Self-Government, Lincoln Steffens. 1906.
I love that phrase about "... making the city pay for its own corruption...."