Tuesday, May 30, 2006

The WSJ Supports Crooked Lawmakers

Wall Street Journal editorials of late have become rather elitist – one last week described people opposing the Senate’s amnesty as “Nativists”, and today one claims the FBI and Attorney General are politicized & that the offices of crooked lawmakers are immune from search. These positions do it discredit.

It’s arguments (my subheads and emphasis):

1. The FBI raid was reasonable, but not necessary:
In the case of Mr. Jefferson, Justice clearly had reason to consider a search. The Congressman is suspected of taking bribes, individuals have already pleaded guilty to paying him and agreed to cooperate with prosecutors, and a search of his home found $90,000 in his freezer.

Yet with all of this evidence in hand, the question is why prosecutors also felt the need to raid Mr. Jefferson's office in the middle of the night--the first such raid in the history of Congress.
2. The FBI should have cut a deal:
If they really believe Mr. Jefferson is running a criminal enterprise out of his Capitol Hill office, they could always negotiate the parameters of such a search with House leaders.
3. The FBI and Attorney General acted in bad faith, and the President should have terminated the AG:
Justice also hasn't helped its case with its bullying behavior after Speaker Denny Hastert denounced the raid. Someone leaked to ABC News that Mr. Hastert was himself a target of a Justice probe…

Someone also leaked that Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and Deputy AG Paul McNulty had threatened to resign if President Bush returned material confiscated in the raid. So here we have someone at Justice trying to intimidate not just the House Speaker but also President Bush. If we were Mr. Bush, we'd have accepted both resignations on those grounds alone.
4. The President & Congress will suppress the evidence
Mr. Bush's sensible decision to seal the Jefferson evidence has had the useful effect of calming this dispute down. If it turns out that Justice has to prosecute its case without evidence obtained from Mr. Jefferson's Congressional office, so be it. Prosecutors have to work around such limitations all the time. Congress's right to legislate without being intimidated by the executive is a core element of the Constitution, and bullying prosecutors shouldn't be allowed to violate it.
This piece paints the FBI as politicized, without advancing any evidence. It says the AG – the man sworn to enforce the laws of the United States - should have been terminated for objecting to suppression of evidence. It advances the principle that the offices of politicians – no matter how crooked - should remain sacrosanct.

The EU anti-fraud supremo used similar arguments to hide its own corruption, so it’s sad to see the voice of American conservatism talking the same claptrap.