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A tale of two scumbags

With the plea-bargain of former Tom Delay aide Tony Rudy on corruption charges related to disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff, I find myself wondering: what are the significant differences between Rudy's case and that of Lauren Weiner, the former aide to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (headed by Senator Charles Schumer, D-NY), who pleaded guilty to fraudulently obtaining the credit report of Maryland's Republican Lt. Governor (and candidate for US Senate) Michael Steele?

For some reason, the Rudy case is often portrayed as part of the "culture of corruption," while the Weiner case is largely pooh-poohed and brushed under the carpet. Personally, I think the Weiner case is far more significant -- it looks like Rudy was mainly out to enrich himself, while Weiner's crime was purely for political gain and an attempt to manipulate an election.

Make no mistake about it: I think both people did despicable things, and deserve to face the full force of the law for their crimes. But I can't quite reconcile Weiner getting off with community service, with NO jail time and NO fine, while Rudy is looking at 2 - 2.5 years and six-figure fines.


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Comments (8)

I disagree, Jay -- Rudy's c... (Below threshold)

I disagree, Jay -- Rudy's crime(s) involved accepting things of value in exchange for influencing legislation. It is no different than a CPA accepting cash in exchange for massaging the numbers. It is invidious and a real threat to the democratic system.

Not that Lauren doesn't deserve more than a slap on the wrist, but her act was a single act, whereas Rudy's involvement appears to have ben more of a pattern/practice.

wavemaker, I respect your o... (Below threshold)
Jay Tea:

wavemaker, I respect your opinion. But I look at it differently -- Rudy was subverting the LEGISLATIVE process, while Weiner was working on corrupting the ELECTORAL process. Congress can, in theory, go back and undo whatever Rudy pulled off; a tainted election is a lot harder to correct.

But I think it's irrelevant to argue about which was worse. The crux of my point is that they are of comparable magnitude, and the sanction for each should be on a similar scale.

I might have a personal prejudice, though. We have a case of flagrant vote-suppression from the 2002 Senate race going through the courts up here in NH, and I want those guys to do some jail time, too.

J.

To be honest I don't think ... (Below threshold)
just me:

To be honest I don't think this is a situation where you can play "whose crime was worse" they were both pretty bad, for different reasons, and I think the real issue is how each is covered. The reality is that both were used to forward some kind of influence, and both are symptoms of political corruption.

I do think your concerns with the electoral influence is a good one-although I am more bothered by the shenanigans in Washington state, given that in the end what happened there got the blessings of the court, and we all know the results stink to high heaven.

Jay Tea, a slight case of p... (Below threshold)
bryanD:

Jay Tea, a slight case of political Stockholm Syndrome? The little gangsters raped the Republican Party. Then pimped her out! Sorry to have to put it that way.

I'm sorry you put it that w... (Below threshold)
Jay Tea:

I'm sorry you put it that way, too, bryan, because I have NO idea who the "little gangsters" are. Between the original piece and my earlier comment, I cited three cases of political corruption -- two Republican and one Democrat examples. (In the interest of balance, lemme toss in the Milwaukee case of 2004, when some Democratic officials slashed the tires of buses rented for "get out the vote" use.)

And in each and every case, I have the same position: draconian punishment. I want 'em all locked up, and that's only because horse-whipping and execution aren't available.

So I don't know where you get your "Stockholm Syndrome." The only thing I can think of is that it was tossed around early in the Jill Carroll case, and you latched on to it as your new buzzword without grasping just what the hell it means. Go look it up, or check out the Patti Hearst case for a prime example.

J.

Jay Tea, I noticed you were... (Below threshold)
bryanD:

Jay Tea, I noticed you weren't questioning the rape/pimp analogy and that's what I was queasy about tossing out, though it's the best description of unfettered access for a price. "Wondering about significant differences" between the two cases seems to be a rationalization in itself. One is a dirty tricks campaign: Very bad yet directional with a concrete objective. The other is an open-ended conpiracy to defraud the public at large, to launder money through front companies and foundations here and overseas, and to use that money and kick-backs and wire-fraud to leverage the sale of legitimate companies to themselves. There's at least one murder in the US connected to these operators. They're unaffilliated gangsters who are known associates of mafiosi on the east coast. They even wear fedoras. And , yeah, they hide behind religion just like La Cosa Nostra. If your post was a double-feature at the movies, the dem-bot would be rated PG, the other NC-17. And yes, you identify with their ostensible goals: Bush-style, laisse-fair Republicanism. I like the leash!

Hmmmm.Jay... (Below threshold)
ed:

Hmmmm.

Jay Tea, I noticed you weren't questioning the rape/pimp analogy and that's what I was queasy about tossing out, though it's the best description of unfettered access for a price.

You mean like Linda Daschle, Tom Daschle's wife?

*shrug* she's a paid corporate lobbyist, or at least was, when Tom was minority leader.

Isn't that unfettered?

ed, don't buy into bryan's ... (Below threshold)
Jay Tea:

ed, don't buy into bryan's little game. I began and finished with the same notion: it's stupid and irrelevant (in short, "bryanesque") to argue which was worse. A case can be made for both sides. The important element is that both are of similar magnitude of badness, and should be treated roughly equally.

And that's not the case here.

Fortunately, the Republicans caught up in the 2002 New Hampshire phone-jamming scandal are also looking at jail time, and I think the Democratic tire-slashers from Milwaukee are too, so it's looking more and more like the Weiner case is an aberration.

J.




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