Not a Newsflash: Another Public Official Convicted for Influence Peddling

The sun rose this morning. Washington insiders were found guilty of lying and obstructing justice. I had to reboot my Windows OS computer twice today. Not an atypical day, so far.

Here’s the scoop on the middle not-so-newsworthy occurence:

A federal jury convicted a former White House official, David Safavian, of lying and obstructing justice in the first trial to come out of the influence-peddling investigation of Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

Safavian, 38, was found guilty yesterday of three counts of making false statements and one count of obstructing justice. He was acquitted of another obstruction charge. Each count carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

The verdict validates the Justice Department’s strategy of relying on e-mail messages to show that Safavian concealed the inside help he gave to Abramoff. Without calling Abramoff to the witness stand, prosecutors Peter Zeidenberg and Nathaniel Edmonds painted Safavian as a public servant led astray by lavish gifts.

I’m trying to think of any real solution to graft and influence peddling in politics. If anyone has an idea (short of anarchy or nukes), please let me know.

Stephen Gordon

I like tasteful cigars, private property, American whiskey, fast cars, hot women, pre-bailout Jeeps, fine dining, worthwhile literature, low taxes, original music, personal privacy and self-defense rights -- but not necessarily in this order.

  1. I used to use it to play Battlefield 2 with. Cant do that anymore so the Windows boxen is now the wifeys computer. The dual G5 does anything else better and faster.

  2. Looks like another person got Martha’d. While I am sure the guy is likely a world class douche they don’t have him on any real crimes, just lying to the government and that’s not a crime in my book. That’s enlightened self preservation.

  3. you want real solutions to graft and corruption? nail this guy under RICO instead of for perjury and obstruction. The real problem here is that “back door justice” is too prevalent. Prosecutors are going for easy charges to prove like lying under oath and obstruction instead of the very provable real crimes they’re guilty of. This has been going on for years (capone, anyone?). The short answer is close the prosecutorial loopholes that allow prosecutors to take the easy charges: make obstruction and perjury “add-on” penalties instead of penalties that can stand alone. That is, you cannot be convicted of obstruction of justice alone, but you get triple the penalty of your original crime if you get convicted of obstruction too (I use triple because that’s the statutory damages in check fraud, which is a similar wrong)

  4. I’ve got a solution. Limit the amount of power government wields. That way, there won’t be a reason to bribe politicians.

  5. SG — I liked what LE Modessitt Jr did with authority in “Adiamante” (A sci-fi novel, yeah — but still, this part could apply at least.)

    Basically — you don’t get paid while in positions of authority. You *PAY* to be there. In terms of hard physical labor.

    Watch what kind of people you get if holding power in society means you have to do back-breaking work to stay there. >:)

  6. Wouldn’t the Read The Bills go a long, long way? What power would legislators be perceived as having if the seven-day rule was in effect?

  7. As I see it the problem lies within the recognition of corperations and thier lobbyist’s as lawfull entities thereby granting them the same freedoms of speech as You or I. We as individuals are allowed to donate (campaign contributions etc…)to the delegate’s of our choice Their donations are simply larger, landing them a ready and sympathetic ear (directly attached to an xxl wallet.) opening up later opportunities for such instances to occure. The real questions here are. Should larg corp. entities have the right to lobby legislature for thier own corperate interests? Should they be allowed free speech when the same is being infringed apon of our citizenry? And should “our” representitives be allowed to maintain multiple agendae or serve outside influances?

  8. Ban for-profit corporate contributions, without exception. Most publicly held corporations also included foreign ownership, against the spirit though not letter of election law. Privately held corporations allow foreign owners to circumvent election law prohibiting their contributions. Privately held corporations also allow private citizens to “double” their voice, speaking once as themselves and another time as their corporation. Additionally ban all contributions from any non-profit or not-for-profit corporation that accept contributions from non-domestic sources and/or for-profit coprorations. While this would not entirely resolve the issue, banning contributions for foreign influences and from “only-people-on-paper-people” would go a long way into forcing politicians to focus on the electorate. —– Just my own thoughts.