Quote of the day – it’s legal because it’s not illegal

This is great. Concerning the Justice Department’s decision not to bring charges against former House Majority Leader Tom Delay (R-Texas), a New York Times editorial notes “many of Mr. DeLay’s actions remain legal only because lawmakers have chosen not to criminalize them”. No kidding!

Don’t like the kind of trips these congress-critters go on and the salaries they pay family members? There is a solution … these are just symptoms of the disease. Take the money and power from Congress and give it back to the states. The US Constitution is clear, and by incrementally moving power from local and state governments to the federal government, we have bred this type of legal corruption.

Sure, we may continue to have corruption at the state and local level in some places, but the corruption would be less far removed from the people and the shame involved might just reduce the corruption level to something manageable.

At the federal level – when you’re tossing around billion-dollar figures every weekend – all sorts of crap can be passed off as normal … when it’s not.

Agree with me? It’s a core conservative principal … welcome to the club and bring your friends, family and neighbors.

From the New York Times with a hat tip to Jonathan Alder at Volokh Conspiracy.

Mr. DeLay, the Texas Republican who had been the House majority leader, crowed that he had been “found innocent.” But many of Mr. DeLay’s actions remain legal only because lawmakers have chosen not to criminalize them. Mr. DeLay’s wife and daughter, for example, were paid more than $500,000 by his political action and campaign committees for “strategic guidance” and event-planning. Others in Congress, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, have put family members on the payroll.

The Justice Department spent six years investigating Mr. DeLay’s relationship to Jack Abramoff, the über-lobbyist who served three years in prison for fraud, corruption and conspiracy. Just to recall: Mr. DeLay, his wife and several staff members took a lavish 10-day golf trip to England and Scotland in 2000. The trip was arranged by Mr. Abramoff and paid for by gambling-industry clients, including the Choctaw Indian tribe. Two months later, Mr. DeLay helped kill a bill to ban Internet gambling — a proposal that the tribe and Mr. Abramoff’s other client feared would hurt their business.

There were several other trips arranged by Mr. Abramoff and conveniently followed by legislative favors. In 1997, Mr. DeLay and his wife visited the South Pacific island of Saipan. The trip was paid for by the island’s government and garment manufacturers, clients of Mr. Abramoff. Mr. DeLay later helped block a bill that would have required the garment manufacturers to pay workers the minimum wage.

13 replies
  1. PatRiot
    PatRiot says:

    Throw them all out!  Give them all to Sheriff Joe Arpaio, no Federal country club / jail.

    And their personal money should be used to pay Joe, not taxpayer money.

  2. sammy22
    sammy22 says:

    Both sides are to blame for letting corruption reign. Unfortunately, those who rule make the rules.  For as much as I may agree w/ Steve on this issue I cannot foresee substantive changes. One generation of politicians stands on the shoulders of the previous one.

    • Steve McGough
      Steve McGough says:

      Right Sammy – let's say we start to do something about it? It may not be done before I pass, but I'm willing to try to move power and cash totally away from the feds and back to the people. Leave the feds to deal with their Constitutional responsibilities, and only those responsibilities.

      We can deal with corruption that crops up at a local level much easier than the professional politicians in DC.

    • Dimsdale
      Dimsdale says:

      I could not agree more.  The problem isn't so much with the parties, it is more basic: it is a problem with politicians.  This story is a case in point, where a very partisan "Justice" department lets off a very partisan, well, criminal.   The "partisans" cancel out.  It is pols protecting pols.

       

      This is why I am for across the board term limits. $50K/year and no benefits.  Don't give them time to get comfortable and connected.  We aren't getting the "best and brightest" now, so maybe some fresh blood will take the stink out of Congress.

       

       

      • Steve McGough
        Steve McGough says:

        But Dims, term limits and low salaries for federal politicians as you suggest attack the symptoms, not the disease! The unconstitutional concentrated federal power is the real problem.

      • Dimsdale
        Dimsdale says:

        Agreed, but if you cut off the blood flow to the diseased tissue, it eventually atrophies.  Newly elected pols are much more inclined to fix things, particularly if they have been in the real world for most of their adult lives.

  3. scottm
    scottm says:

    Tom Delay was also accused of moving 190k of corporate contributions through the RNC to Delays Texas political action committee to get around the states ban on corporate funding of?STATE races, also known as money laundering, 2 of his senior aides were convicted.? His wife and daughter got paid half a million!! For what??

    Yes Tom Delay is innocent, and Larry Craig had Restless Leg Symptom.

  4. Steve McGough
    Steve McGough says:

    Then you agree with me in reference to my series on the symptoms of the disease? Or is your critique aimed at only Republicans who are involved with the big money schemes in Washington.?

    • scottm
      scottm says:

      I agree that both sides have corruption, you won't hear me sticking up for Rangel either.  Even the democrats are distancing themselves from him.  Would giving more money and power to the states rein in corruption or would it make it easier to be corrupt without federal authorities watching over them?  I don't know the answer to that.  In this particular case of money laundering it involved both federal and state.

      • Steve McGough
        Steve McGough says:

        Why would the feds need to "watch over them?" The federal government has enough on it's plate as the fail to even meet their own Constitutional requirements, let alone ones not assigned. Is it not the job of the people who are voting for these frauds to toss them out?

        I also never said give "more money and power to the states" I specifically said return power to the states and the people.

        That's the difference between our politics I think, many think the federal government is there to "protect us" from all the bad in the world, when in reality, most of that protection must be done at the state level. We are the United States of America after all.

        In the past, (mostly back when the federal government budget was only $2 trillion but the idea stands) I've suggested we still spend all that money, but cut the "middle man" (chuckle) out of the equation. Take all of that money going to the feds used to fund projects and graft not stipulated in the Constitution, and let the states and local communities collect those taxes. That means federal taxes go WAY down, but state and local taxes go UP.

        This provides a fantastic opportunity for all 50 states to compete with one another in the realm of  political ideas like health care and education. Few good ideas are easy to do, and this would not be an easy sell and it could take decades, but what do you think?

         

  5. sammy22
    sammy22 says:

    Can't quite see that politicians would vote for terms limits, why would they? Look how they are clawing and scratching now to get/hold on to a seat! And they make the rules.

    • Dimsdale
      Dimsdale says:

      So true.  Which is why we need people that genuinely want to get in, do well, and get out.  They will vote for it, but it will take time.  They got term limits on the president after all.

  6. PatRiot
    PatRiot says:

    Term limits MUST come with lobbying reform.  If not, the newly elected pols will be ravaged (at taxpayer expense) by big American business let alone international business.

    And we know full well that DC will never make such changes.  Steve has the right of it,  the people must take responsibility and action to make this change.

    We trusted the Gov't to take care of us.  We got the short, stinky end of that stick. 

    We trusted the media to enlighten us and be a Gov't watchdog.  Oops, fooled again.

    In the end, we must take charge and hope that the military will back us up.  But only if we hold true to the Constitution and bring the discussion back to that EVERY time.

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