Writing assignment: 500 words on this topic: “Why do you think Plunkitt was so open about how he made his money?”
George Washington Plunkitt made his money through what he called honest graft. Honest graft is when a politician, as Plunkitt was, makes honest money by taking advantage of an opportunity. Throughout the book, we are given examples of how Plunkitt used honest graft. He would buy real estate at a bargain and sell it to the next person for a fair price. One example that particularly stood out was when an old brick road was being rebuilt, and the old bricks were being auctioned off. Plunkitt told the other bidders that if they did not bid, he would give them a portion of the bricks. So he bought the bricks for about 2 dollars and gave the other bidders their allotted portions. He could then sell the rest of the bricks and make a profit.
I believe he was so open about how he made his fortune because he figured that he was making money honestly, he wasn’t taking advantage of his position or other people. So he did not have a reason to hide from the public. Another reason I think is because Plunkitt was a politician, and a public figure. The public does not favor shady politicians who are not transparent about matters like how they made their money.
In conclusion, honest graft is when a politician makes honest money by taking advantage of an opportunity, and it was through this that Plunkitt built his vast fortune. I believe Plunkitt’s reasons for being so open about how he became so rich were that he did not want to lose votes by raising the public’s suspicion, and he believed he had no reason to hide. He was making money honestly, not taking advantage of people in a way that would harm them.