T Nation

White House to Buy Justice


#1

The Bush-Cheney campaign acknowledges taking over $100,000.00 from Jack Abramoff. In a move to absolve themselves from any wrong doing now that they are implicated in the scandal, they are going to donate the "dirty" money to American Heart Association.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/10706220/

This could set a whole new precedent for the trial/investigation. Jack Abramoff and everyone else can admit they have the money and give it to charity now that they are caught. Everyone can "walk" and go free. The Democrats will be happy to see their charities funded and the current administration can once again prove that it is above the law.

Now a Drug Dealer should be able to say " I know it was wrong, but I'm giving the money to Aids research".

If it works and is "right" for the people of the administration (and not just Bush-Cheney either) It should be good for everyone across the board (whites, blacks, hispanics and everyone else in the inner city).


#2

You're putting the cart before the horse there. Which might have been forgivable if the title was just for attention, but it continues throughout your pointless post.

It's not just the gift or receipt of money that is a crime -- obviously not, given how many different folks, companies and other organizations contribute money to political campaigns. It would be the gift and receipt of money in exchange for what I'll call favors - that is, specific governmental actions that would not otherwise have been taken.

So you're taking what is obviously a bunch of public relations stuff -- recipients of money from Abramoff et al, who are "returning" the money donated to their campaigns because of the Abramoff scandal -- and equating it with a legal defense strategy.

In essence, they're attempting to publicly disassociate themselves from Abramoff and his money, lest even the appearance of corruption be attached to them (or lest any journalists attempt to imply guilt on bribery/corruption merely from the existence of a campaign contribution -- but they wouldn't do that, right?). They're politicians, after all, so nothing is more important to them than others' opinions of them -- those are their only stock and trade come election time. BTW, I'll note here that all the politicians that have been named in the press as receiving Abramoff donations have "given them back."

Whether or not the recipients of Abramoff's campaign contributions give them back will have no effect whatsoever on the adjudication of any bribery or corruption charges that may be leveled.

But here you are, assuming guilt in the first instance and misequating PR moves with legal ones.

Anyone who took money from Abramoff in exchange for favors should be thrown under the bus, as it were. But we might at least want to wait until any indictments are filed (or plea bargains made) before assessing (currently non-existent) legal strategies of the defense...

It's interesting to speculate on those who may find trouble as a result of Abramoff's sleaze fest, but this is just ridiculous.


#3

Good point. While we're at it, we may as well arrest everyone who has ever contributed to any political campaign. Oh, and the politicians who accepted such donations better give up all that cash to the NAACP or some other neutral entity.


#4

As a side note: did Hillary ever donate her cattle futures money to charity? Or the cash she accumulated by shorting health care/pharmaceuticals just before announcing her health care 'plan'?

Just curious, as long as we're on a topic like this.


#5

You are very correct in most of what you say. Although possession of illegal money is still a crime, otherwise possession of laundered money would be legal. It will be interesting to see if anyone applies "RICO" in this investigation. Then possession of the money (whether known or otherwise) would itself be a crime. They have used this against motorcyle clubs for years.


#6

I think even if they use RICO they still have to prove the existence of a conspiracy to break the law, and membership in that conspiracy. But the only thing I know about Crim Law is from my first year class in 2001, which was taught by a psycho visiting professor...


#7

This op-ed from Ana Marie Cox in the NYT today pretty well sums up my expectations of this:

Key excerpts:
[i]
What Mr. Ney did was either very bad or very stupid, likely both. But he hardly needed Mr. Abramoff to besmirch his reputation: he has recently drawn scrutiny for the unlikely feat of winning $34,000 on an initial $100 bet during a London casino romp, and on another junket he met with a convicted con artist whom MSNBC reported had "cheated on his taxes and was involved in a deal to swindle Elvis Presley." Mr. Ney refused to discuss these issues with the press because of "national security implications." Well, Richard Nixon did give Elvis a federal drug agent's badge.

Despite the desperate glee of the editorializers and the almost-as-desperate rinsing of Abramoff funds from Republican coffers, the smell in the air is panic, not blood. In order to cast their net beyond Diamond Bob Ney, the feds would have to, as one Republican source told the Times, "pursue a different definition of bribery" - that is, prove that "if somebody were to give a gift or a campaign contribution in the same time period as a member took an official action, that in and of itself would constitute bribery." And you thought Patrick Fitzgerald was criminalizing politics.

Sad to admit it, but most of what Jack Abramoff did with politicians (as opposed to his outright fraud with Indian tribes) wasn't criminal so much as extreme. The Hollywood arc would have a chain-gang of Congressmen breaking rocks by the final reel, but we are unlikely to get such satisfaction outside of celluloid.[/i]


If this sort of thing concerns you, you should be for reducing the power of government. If government is given the power to control business too much, or hand out tax dollars as largesse, it seems obvious that business will find a way to influence those who control, but generally don't benefit from, government.

If you reduce government power, you remove the incentive for businesses to lobby.


#8

Amen...