Criminalizing conservatism

Why are Federal investigators and prosecutors tormenting poor Bob Ney? How was he supposed to know, when he attacked Gus Boulis and vouched for Adam Kidan on the floor of the house, that Kidan was going to hire Mafia-coonected hit men to bump off Boulis?

Jeffrey Bell and Bill Kristol are clearly right: The recent string of indictments and investigations targeting national Republican leaders and their allies represent “a comprehensive strategy of criminalization … to inflict defeat on conservatives who seek to govern as conservatives.”

The only alternative explanation is that the national Republican Party and the branches of government it controls are operating an open kleptocratic conspiracy reminiscent of the Gilded Age. And only shrill people — those who aren’t anti-war, just on the other side — could believe that explanation.

The sort of people who post images like this

absolut_corruption[1].jpg


… even in wartime.

The latest bit of evidence is the vendetta against poor Bob Ney, who did nothing worse than make one speech on the floor of the House attacking a business rival of Jack Abramoff’s (a man named Gus Boulis) and another praising Abramoff’s partner, Adam Kidan. Any Congressman would do as much for a friend, wouldn’t he?

The fact that Kidan later hired three Mob-connected hit men to murder Boulis is hardly Ney’s fault, is it?



Yes, it’s true that Ney said of Kidan that he had a “renowned reputation for honesty and integrity,” adding:

Mr. Adam Kidan is most well known for his successful enterprise, Dial-a-Mattress, but he is also well known as a solid individual and a respected member of his community.

While Mr. Kidan certainly has his hands full in his efforts to clean up SunCruz’s reputation, his track record as a businessman and as a citizen lead me to believe that he will easily transform SunCruz from a questionable enterprise to an upstanding establishment that the gaming community can be proud of.

How was Ney to know that in fact (as James V. Grimaldi and Susan Schmidt report in the Washington Post):

Kidan’s “track record” included a string of lawsuits, judgments, liens, bankruptcies and failed businesses. His Dial-a-Mattress franchise in the District was in bankruptcy. He had filed personal bankruptcy, and he had surrendered his law license in New York after being accused of fraud. One of his mentors, Anthony Moscatiello, was alleged by law enforcement to be an accountant for New York’s Gambino crime family.

Look. A Congressman is a busy person, especially once Tom DeLay has put him in charge of the House Administration Committee. Do you think he has the time to personally read every statement a lobbyist gives him to put into the record, never mind checking its facts? If Congressmen can’t trust lobbyists — especially those approved by the Republican leadership as part of the K Street Project — where are they supposed to get their information?

No, it’s obvious that the prosecutors and investigators who are pursuing these perfectly innocent men are politically motivated. The real scandal is how it came to pass that the FBI, and the United States Attorneys appointed by a Republican President, turned out to be such a bunch of partisan Democratic hacks.

I hope Powerline is looking into this. Why, it’s a conspiracy so vast ….

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com