An America of Inequalities

by Hans Bader on April 20, 2012 · 3 comments

in Legal, Politics as Usual, Zeitgeist

Increasingly, ordinary people get prosecuted for trifles, while politically connected people get a pass for the exact same crime, or far worse behavior.

A whale-watcher is being criminally prosecuted merely for lying about whistling at a whale.  But former New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine, a big Obama booster who “stole” $1.2 billion, is not being prosecuted, despite his investment firm’s massive diversion of funds from client trust accounts, a crime that Corzine “personally” ordered.

Meanwhile, a dairy-farming family in Maryland is getting prosecuted by the federal government for “structuring” — breaking up bank deposits into deposits of less than $10,000 at a time to avoid scrutiny.  But former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer got a free pass for the very same offense, even though he (unlike the hapless dairy farmers) used the practice in order to hide criminal activity, making his actions much worse. As Walter Olson notes, “structuring” is “the federal criminal offense of splitting up bank deposits so as to keep them under a threshold such as $10,000 above which banks have to report transactions to the government. Structuring is unlawful whether or not it occurs in conjunction with any other legal offense . . . Nor is there any requirement that the person be aware that there is a law banning structuring; someone who gets wind that transactions over $10,000 are reportable, and decides ‘What’s up with that? I’ll just make $9,000 deposits’, has broken the Bank Secrecy Act.”

Increasingly, the federal government persecutes the innocent and punishes whistleblowers, while turning a blind eye to the guilty.

In the auto bailouts, non-union retirees, pension funds, and bondholders got ripped off, while the powerful UAW union, which endorsed Obama, got special, preferential treatment and a big chunk of the automakers’ stock.

Andrew_M_Garland April 20, 2012 at 9:40 pm

What does it feel like to live in a tyrrany? This.

Every government agency must find people to prosecute, to justify the ridiculous laws passed to control everything. It is hard to prosecute the connected, so the connected get a monopoly on big crime. That leaves only those who inadvertantly cross some rule.

Juries are clueless as well, very logically assessing the facts and reporting that “Yes, the defendant violated that rule.” Instead, they should be nullifying those “crimes”.

Bruce April 26, 2012 at 6:57 pm

“The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren’t enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws.”

Ayn Rand

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