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Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Safire Can't Find the Forger -- Does Anyone Care?

Dear Mr. Safire:

You ask if anywhere there is a federal prosecutor who is interested in upholding the law (http://www.nytimes.com/2004/09/22/opinion/22safi.html?ex=1100840400&en=7cfe910c6a37bd0e&ei=5070&oref=regi).

The short answer is, I can’t find one. The longer answer concerns why I looked.

I looked because, during President Clinton’s “trial” in the Senate, then-recently-retired Senator Dale Bumpers lobbied his former fellows to let Clinton skate on the perjury charge.

In addition to being a modern, high-profile example of jury nullification, this charade served to point out that (at least) Senators, the President, his attorneys, and federal judges are above the law, even when the law, as written, specifically includes them.

I tried for several months to get the FBI to initiate action on this, or at least to tell me why they wouldn’t, as virtually all Senators, the President, his counsel, and Chief Justice Rehnquist blatantly disobeyed the law, setting a precedent on national television.

I cited the law. I provided direct quotes from Sen. Bumpers’s testimony, that clearly showed his intent, which was in contradiction of the law. I asked for prosecution; none was forthcoming.

I pointed out
* that Sen. Bumpers was clearly not long-enough removed from office to make this appearance.
* that his appearance, whether invited or subpoenaed, was not in keeping with the loopholes in the law (that specifically exempt the prosecution – the United States -- but not the defense)
* that his admitted purpose was to influence the official act of the Senate, and
* that all these conditions are in specific violation of the law.

Not only was Sen. Bumpers in trouble, the law’s penalties are actually more-severe regarding those who invited him (President Clinton, his legal team, and presumably the leadership of the Senate) and those who permitted the act (Chief Justice Rehnquist, Senate leadership, and the entire non-objecting Senate – in other words, all of them).

After a long and predictably fruitless battle, I met up with a sympathetic FBI agent/lawyer, who looked over what I had sent (references to the law, Sen. Bumpers’s testimony, and comments), and he agreed that I was right. He also explained that, no matter what the law says, there is a certain class of people in this country who can ignore it with impunity.

It’s not that most of the ruling class in the country deserves to be behind bars that bothers me – it’s that they know they won’t have to go.

I applaud your ‘never give up’ attitude. I, though, have given up. I’m 53, and all I want to do is die before the whole damn nation goes under, in a huge flushing of global socialism and global fiscal and moral bankruptcy. It’s not that we, as a nation, don’t deserve it; heck, we’re causing it. It’s just that, when I read the Constitution and my old civics books, I realize it’s not that hard to do so very much better.

Keep fighting – at least you can say you tried.

Tim Kern

The entire section (207 --
http://assembler.law.cornell.edu/uscode/html/uscode18/usc_sec_18_00000207----000-.html) covers various federal officers and employees. What’s below is just a small part, directly concerning the Bumpers imbroglio.

Ref: 18 USC 207 (bold italics added)…(e) Restrictions on Members of Congress and Officers and Employees of the Legislative Branch.—
(1) Members of congress and elected officers.—
(A) Any person who is a Member of Congress or an elected officer of either House of Congress and who, within 1 year after that person leaves office, knowingly makes, with the intent to influence, any communication to or appearance before any of the persons described in subparagraph (B) or (C), on behalf of any other person (except the United States) in connection with any matter on which such former Member of Congress or elected officer seeks action by a Member, officer, or employee of either House of Congress, in his or her official capacity, shall be punished as provided in section 216 of this title.

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