Recently, a Department of Justice spokesperson spoke about the need for “closing up legal gaps”. In this commentary, I make a case for closing up some legal gaps. Consider this my way of assisting the Department of Justice.
During boot camp, I was taught that torture is contrary to the law of war. My basic human instincts inform me that torture is immoral. My Commandant, whom I’ve had the privilege and honor of meeting, is opposed to the use of torture. See: http://www.propeace.net/blog/silent-lotus/top-former-generals-denounce-cheney-torture Statutory law proscribes torture. See: https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/part-I/chapter-113C The Constitution proscribes torture. See: https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/fifth_amendment and https://www.law.cornell.edu/constitution/eighth_amendment Unlike politicians in Washington, I’m not so cognitively deficient that I can’t read.
Call me an extremist, but I believe torture is illegal and has been illegal for quite some time. I’m against torture. Torture is an attack on due process. I support due process rights for everybody, including for politicians. Contrary to what Hillary Clinton said last year, we need no new statutes proscribing the use of torture. What Richard B. Cheney and George W. Bush did was contra-legem then and it’s contra-legem today. Richard B. Cheney incriminated George W. Bush by publicly stating that George W. Bush authorized torture. This is very serious misfeasance that must not go unpunished. I believe both Richard B. Cheney and George W. Bush need to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. They should have been on the docket years ago. There are several politicians in Washington who support torture. They need to be arrested immediately. That’s a legal gap that must be closed.
There’s another gargantuan legal gap that must be closed. Pursuant to the calculus used to indict Jesse Benton, I see no reason why Mitch McConnell, Harry Reid, and almost every other politician in Washington can’t be indicted.
Jesse Benton was indicted because he paid former Iowa State Senator Kent Sorenson around $70,000 to switch his support from Michele Bachmann to Ron Paul. In other words, Jesse Benton has been indicted for vote buying.
If ever there were a compelling case for jury nullification, this is the quintessential example. It looks to me like one of the offenses was failing to disclose the payment, and that’s one of the charges. In other words, at least one of the charges was not for the payment itself, but that the payment wasn’t disclosed in FEC reports. But I’m uncertain what the exact underlying crime as alleged by the state is, since the state files a plurality of charges pursuant to a plurality of statutory narratives derived from the same underlying offense – a practice I believe is a detour around the legal principle of ne bis in idem.
It appears to me that the underlying offense which engendered the indictment is vote buying and/or bribery. As Murray Rothbard saliently articulated, there’s nothing inherently wrong with bribery. If you pay your neighbor to mow your yard, you’re bribing your neighbor. When an employer pays an employee to work, the employer is bribing the employee. If somebody pays somebody to kill somebody, that’s criminal and should be stopped. The consequential issue is not that a person paid somebody to do something. The consequential issue is what the person paid to have done. Is supporting and/or voting for politicians a criminal act? That it’s illegal to fail disclose a payment for an activity that’s legal is inexplicable.
If you voluntarily choose to exchange your own property (i.e. money) with somebody in order for that person to vote for a certain candidate, no matter how just the cause, that would be called “vote buying”, which is illegal. See: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/apr/13/vote-buying-at-center-of-eastern-ky-judge-executiv/ and http://www.kentucky.com/news/state/article45678069.html However, candidates running for office can promise largesse from the public treasury (i.e. other people’s property) in exchange for votes, and that is perfectly legal. What is the objective difference, other than the latter inflicts far more injury since it is robbery?
What about government workers, government contractors, and paid campaign staffers? Could their votes possibly be motivated and influenced by financial incentives? The irony is that Kent Sorenson was, objectively, being bribed by the Bachmann campaign before he was bribed by Jesse Benton, et al. I guess if you sell your vote to a common man, whose interest may even be just, that is bad, but selling your vote to politicians who buy your vote as a matter of policy is fine. Politicians can bribe us with our own money, but we can’t bribe them with our own money.
Jesse Benton has been indicted for buying the vote of one person with funds raised on the free market. But politicians buy votes of millions of people with taxpayer money. Voters vote themselves subsidies (i.e. sell their votes) with impunity, as that’s perfectly legal. Not only that, we have no idea who’s selling their vote because voting is done by secret ballot. In essence, politicians have a legalized vote buying monopoly. Department of Justice needs to get a handle on this by indicting everybody – save a few – for the corrupt campaign practice of promising largesse from the public treasury.
Until we see some indictments of politicians like Dick Cheney, Harry Reid, and Barack Obama, then I’m compelled to agree with Paul Craig Roberts, concluding that the Department of Justice is a criminal organization. I have a fiduciary responsibility to stand up against injustice. The biggest national security threat to the United States is Washington. It would be in the best interests of the United States to avert a constitutional crisis by installing Rand Paul as POTUS immediately and sending the neocons in both parties and in government on a one way trip to Syria. Until then, any of the criminals in Washington are free to surrender to me.