A Terrible Idea

I am sure that prosecuting Jon Edwards is a heck of a lot of fun for Republicans, but it is an enormous mistake.  Yes, the guy is a poster child for the hypocritical self-serving jackass that defines exactly whey we hate politicians.  But setting a legal precedent for defining campaign spending subject to crazy election laws more broadly is a terrible idea.  Already, there are prosecutors who, mostly for political reasons, have tried to nail certain politicians for election law violations by labeling certain activities as in-kind political giving.  Down this path lies a world where every institution that offered a candidate's family member or friend a job, or a spot in college, or a book deal, or a consulting contract is subject to ex post facto scrutiny and potential prosecution.

  • Don

    Uh, didn't he dip into campaign funds to pay for his mistress and illegitimate child?

    "https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&ved=0CC8QFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.dailymail.co.uk%2Fnews%2Farticle-1393926%2FJohn-Edwards-pleads-guilty-using-campaign-funds-support-mistress-Rielle-Hunter.html&ei=Mf6GT4bAEcGO8AGs5IWVCA&usg=AFQjCNEkHvUuBQwyVnZbbZQZ2ZvG2AWjDw"

    In the corporate world, diverting your companies money for this would lead to charges too (embezzlement).

    I think the only problem with the prosecution is the charges being filed, and the reason for that is because there's case history of pols getting out off embezzlement charges.

    A better approach would be to treat campaigns as a not-for-profit business, and hold them to the same accounting, taxing, and due-diligence standards, with the candidate being the "CEO" and the treasurer being the "CFO".

    Of course, that would mean there aren't separate laws for the ruling class and the rest of us, so that would NEVER work.

  • John O.

    Several years ago the District Attorney of Travis County in Texas, which had special powers to investigate state agencies, tried several prominent Republicans for all sorts of legitimate reasons and that eventually caused the Texas Legislature to restrict the DA's ability to do so because of who he was "targeting".

    The problem is that you can't have any grand jury but one made up of people chosen at random, and many of them have no desire to even be there, much less have any idea of how such matters operate because they are disconnected at the importance of the position. Its a shame because a grand jury in the past did more than just rubber stamp district attorney indictments, but instead could investigate just about anything it felt was necessary, including the government itself. Such instances didn't happen very often but when they did, it lead to several runaways juries (a runaway jury is one that exerts its own authority instead of operating under the district attorney) and some prominent corruption cases.

  • John O.

    Aww crap, forgot to paste the section of text I was meaning to cut so that I could move it. I meant to say this:

    Several years ago the District Attorney of Travis County in Texas, which had special powers to investigate state agencies, tried several prominent Republicans for all sorts of legitimate reasons and that eventually caused the Texas Legislature to restrict the DA’s ability to do so because of who he was “targeting”.

    I believe strongly that politically charged cases should be referred to a specially convened grand jury for the purpose of investigating the claim and issuing the indictment and proclaiming a private prosecutor. That way we can avoid this elementary school ground behavior of using an obvious misdeed as a political 1-upsman.

    The problem is that you can’t have any grand jury but one made up of people chosen at random, and many of them have no desire to even be there, much less have any idea of how such matters operate because they are disconnected at the importance of the position. Its a shame because a grand jury in the past did more than just rubber stamp district attorney indictments, but instead could investigate just about anything it felt was necessary, including the government itself. Such instances didn’t happen very often but when they did, it lead to several runaways juries (a runaway jury is one that exerts its own authority instead of operating under the district attorney) and some prominent corruption cases.

  • caseyboy

    Edwards needs to go down, but not because he is a sleazy politician or a really bad husband. He needs to take one because he was a seedy trial lawyer, working the juries for outrageous awards that made him a very rich man.

  • Jim Collins

    I don't think it is just Republicans who are behind this. Holder could make this go away in an instant, like the charges against the New Black Panthers in Philly did, but he hasn't. You have to wonder.