Some BMGers are in a tizzy over the McDonnell decision because they think it gives public officials carte blanche in the gifts v. wink wink nod nod department. It doesn’t.
It does a few things however.
First it tells us the US attorney is over reaching by going into each state and determining what is and what isn’t a federal crime for elected officials under at best ambiguous language in federal laws. Because federal law is silent on state officials accepting gifts (federalism, remember/) and a necessary part of elected office is to introduce constituents, supporters, business people, lobbyists, corporations, charities, donors, neighbors and anyone they choose to government officials, constituents, supporters, business people etc… the feds cannot convict if it only establishes a gift and and act. It must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the gift was only given with the purpose and expectations of both sides.
However cases like Diane Wilkerson, Chuck Turner, Vinny Piro, Joe DiCarlo, Ron McKenzie, and I’m pretty sure Sal DiMasi are still kosher under the McDonnell case. You take money or gifts in exchange for a vote or lobbying a product over an entity whose budget you control or something then the feds can step in and indict. And they should. But you need evidence of the illegal promise.Tough I know. But remember this is for federal crimes.
The court said the states can set their own rules for the ethical behaviors of their public officials. It’s up to them. States’ rights, capiche? Most have ethics laws which dictate gifts and official acts etc. It is against the law in Massachusetts for a political to do what slime ball McDonnell did in Virgin-eye-aye. Sheet. It’s against the law in Massachusetts for are politician to make a call recommending a constituent for a job.
But what we can’t have is over reaching US attorneys making federal corruption crimes out of routine acts. As always with case law the most outrageous set of facts are needed to drive home a point. The point here is that although McDonnell is a sleaze ball who gamed the system it is better to let him go free, fix the system, reprimand unethical overzealous prosecutors, and give the one-dimensional former assistant US atty federal judges a reminder of who their boss is.
So this tool running the Mass Bar Association Martin Healy is raving about Charlie Baker’s one time move of appointing the three stooges to the Supreme Judicial Court.
You see folks neither of these three are qualified. Because they do not come from the appeals court or published academia or appellate practice of law they have no record to work from.
Like calling up three random pitchers from the farm system double A to be in the permanent staring rotation for the big league team. Forever. Turns out the pitchers are all sons of friends of the owners. (Remember Marc Sullivan?)
Usually a governor would pick from the appeals court then move his buddies and the spouses of his buddies and the kids of his buddies who are in the superior court to the appeals court to replace the three vacancies. Then he moves two maybe three district court people up then he gets to make three brand new judges.
Now every governor gets some freebies. No problem. You get one for the SJC even. Just one. Send up two qualified names and one non-qualified special favor like Wayne Budd’s kid or Ginny Buckingham’s husband or one of the crony good ole boys.
Anyway this Healy guy is paid $300,000 a year by the state’s lawyers to keep an eye on things and took look at this tri-fector Bakes trotted out and said fantastic. “Diverse backgrounds” was his cheer. Are you shitting me. Heavy on prosecutors, nothing on criminal defense, only Budd has some civil experience before her appointment. Very limited at that.
I can’t think of anything that a governor could do which shows more disrespect to our system of jurisprudence. The MBA dude is out of touch with the common man. No empathy, sympathy, patience, understanding, or time for individuals or institutions which are not and never have been part of his world.
This is exactly why we have a governor’s council.
Ok, have you and a friend ever been tripping and hook up with someone who is not tripping only they don’t know you and your friend are tripping and you and your friend keep laughing hysterically and the more you laugh the more the unaware non tripping friend gets pissed off and yells and balls you and your tripping friend out for being jerks and the more mad he gets the more you laugh until he finally he says “fuck you, I can’t take you anymore,” and leaves?
You now what I mean? How no matter what the non-tripping guy says or does he will be unable to relate to his tripping friends and he will be unsuccessful in convincing them to stop laughing? His lobbying efforts only make it worse.
That’s Hillary. We are all tripping except for her and the Hillaryites. The best she can do is shut-up, stay out of out sight, and let us figure it out for ourselves before November because she ain’t helping.