Legislation and probably political appointments are bought and sold all the time and no one goes to jail — it’s called lobbying, it’s called political contributions, it’s called contributions by corporations, whom our current Supreme Court treats as individual human beings and whose money donations are called “free speech”.
But you should have good sense and probably good legal advice so there is no identifiable quid pro quo — I pay you this and you do this. It’s okay if it is clearly implied, though, because you have the out that the donation may have seemed to be a payment for a specific action but that was mere coincidence, it was just in general support of a candidate or in the name of good government.
And that may be why a Chicago jury failed to convict — but was hung instead — obliviously crooked, from his own statements, former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich on corruption charges, to include trying to sell the vacant U.S. Senate seat created by the election of Barack Obama as president.
Well, actually since I began writing this and was interrupted by my real job, I have read that actually the jury did almost convict him of a long list of corruption counts. But one hold-out juror, a retired woman, refused to go along. She reportedly thought it was all just “political talk” no actual crime.
But back to the premise that everyone knows nearly everything is corrupt anyway, to include maybe that hold-out juror, if I have interpreted it right in my quick read, that was basically what Scott Turrow wrote in a column in the New York Times today.
Blagojevich was convicted, though, on one count of lying to federal officials, which I understand is punishable by up to five years in prison. That is a catch-all that the federal government has nailed a lot of folks on, to include Martha Stewart.
That has always seemed kind of chicken sh.. To me. I mean people lie to the cops all the time (you should not do that — you should tell the truth or say nothing). People even commit perjury in the courtroom and then are convicted of the originally charged crime, but seldom are charged or convicted of perjury, except in federal cases. It’s kind of like Al Capone murdering so many people and doing so much bootlegging and other crime and probably never having a real job but being sent to prison for not paying his income taxes.
But, there I go again, going off point. The point is, according to Turrow, that one or more jurors, well I guess now, just one, probably were (was) swayed by the hypocrisy of campaign finance laws that let the clever get away with bribery, but sometimes nail the ham handed.
We all know or tacitly accept that much in government is crooked, so why do we single out some and not all?
One story I read did say that one juror said the jury had voted 11-1 for conviction on the selling-the-Senate-seat charge. It only takes one hold out.
One legal pundit said the prosecution failed to clearly show that the selling and buying actually took place or that there was actually any actual offer to sell. I don’t know; I didn’t hear the trial.
As I understand it, the government is going to try it again.
If the case can be made, Blagojevich should go to jail (and he may on that one count anyway), if for no other reason than he is so annoying and his ridiculous hair do.
But it does seem inconsistent to allow so much bribery to go on unfettered when we all know what it is.