As a thought experiment, I’m trying to think how I would feel if it turned out that a Democratic Presidential candidate who was not elected President were to be prosecuted for falsifying business records in pursuit of a federal crime for which he or she were not also indicted. OK, that’s confusing and general. Let’s make a hypothetical.
Which is actually kind of difficult, honestly, but let’s see what we can do. Elizabeth Warren? I’m going to pick the Senator because she was the 2020 candidate that I felt most positively about. So let’s imagine that someone had some dirt on Elizabeth Warren that she wanted to keep quiet—nothing in itself criminal, but bad behavior of some kind. And in order to further her Presidential campaign in the 2020 primaries, she had paid off that person with money from… a business? I don’t really know much about her money, but it’s plausible that she either still has a legal business of some kind, or that she has a corporation to run her book money or her speaking fees or something. Anyway, so we’re hypothesizing that she has a business of some kind, and that she had that business write a check, or had the business reimburse someone who wrote a check, with the purpose of hushing up a story of some kind, and then had the business list that payment under some other heading. And, of course, did not list the transfer of money in any campaign finance filings—the underlying criminal act is violation of the campaign finance stuff, and the falsification of the business dealings is only criminal in that it was in furtherance of that criminal act.
How would I feel about Elizabeth Warren being indicted and charged under those conditions?
I think I would feel like it was a waste of prosecutorial time, but I don’t think I would be outraged. She fucked up (hypothetically and indeed counterfactually) and she got caught, and that’s bad, but the person I would blame in that case would be… Elizabeth Warren.
Or whoever it would be. Hypothetically.
Here’s the thing: I don’t think Our Previous President is the only politician to pay someone off to hush up a scandal of some kind. It’s completely possible that he is the only Presidential candidate to have run that money through a business, falsifying the record of a business in violation of the law (if the allegations are correct). Certainly no other Presidents or even Presidential candidates have been caught doing so. And if they had been, the question of whether to bring charges shouldn’t have been the question of whether they won the election.
Tolerabimus quod tolerare debemus,