Thursday, May 26, 2011

Legal Immunity

The media is ever so excited about John Edwards facing charges for having used campaign contributions to influence and/or support the mother of his illegitimate child. It seems that federal prosecutors have been developing this case for quite a while and are ready to file charges.

I was no fan of Edwards when he was campaigning. While I liked some of the causes he espoused, I never trusted him and always felt that he was far too slick and self absorbed. I would have no comment on his present troubles if it were not for the somewhat related case of John Ensign.

Ensign, you may recall, was about as faithful to his wife as Edwards was to his, not only cheating on her but cheating with a married staff member. When caught he, like Edwards, refused to terminate the affair, and when the whole thing blew up completely he threw money at the problem. In Ensign’s case there is no question about the illegality of the manner in which he did it, because he not only got the staffer’s husband hired by lobbyists with whom he had political influence, he used strong-arm tactics in the process.

The Justice Department investigated and declined to file charges against Ensign. Following that the Senate Ethics Committee referred the case back to Justice, asking that criminal charges be considered, but so far Justice has failed to do so. They have, apparently, been too busy preparing somewhat murky charges against Edwards to prepare charges for very clear and obvious criminal violations by Ensign.

Interesting, isn’t it? Even thought Edwards is a Democrat, I guess he has been out of office for too long to enjoy the immunity from the long arm of the law that attaches to elected office holders.

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