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Thursday, April 2, 2015

Political Prosecution

Over two years ago, the allegations of wrongdoing surfaced against New Jersey senator Menedez.  According to stories in the Daily Caller and elsewhere, Menendez had taken "gifts" from a big contributor of his, Florida doctor Salomon Melgen, which had included trips to the Dominican Republic on the doctor's private jet, vacations at the doctor's villa in that country, and other items.  While in the Dominican Republic, Menendez was alleged to have had sex with underage prostitutes.  Menendez denied the sex charges but said that he had forgotten to reimburse Melgen for the cost of the flights.  At that point, Menendez paid Melgen about $60,000 to reimburse him even though Menendez total net worth was only about $150,000.  The senator expected people to believe that he intended to spend 40% of his personal wealth on a few plane flights but forgot to send the check.

The key to this story as of now, however, is not the facts above, but the reaction from the Democrats at the time.  This was a "smear" against Menendez we were told.  The Democrat leadership of the senate denounced the reports as whispers from "nameless" and "faceless" people even though the Daily Caller articles disclosed the names of the underage girls allegedly involved and quoted from email that seemed to confirm the allegations.  The entire Democrat establishment closed ranks around Menendez to protect him.

Yesterday, Menendez was indicted by the Obama Justice Department for taking bribes from Melgen in exchange for helping Melgen with some problems the doctor had with the federal government.  I read the indictment, and there really is not much more in it than what was in the original stories in the Daily Caller.  The indictment leaves out the part about underage prostitutes as a basis for criminal prosecution, but the rest is pretty much the same.  So we have allegations which the Democrats told us were completely bogus and just a smear now being used to bring criminal charges against Menendez.

Based upon the facts regarding the plane trips to the Dominican Republic, it certainly looks like Menendez has a major problem, but that was the case over two years ago.  Why, then, is Menendez just being indicted now?  We will hear that the government was completing its investigation, but that cannot be the reason.  Sometimes the government works slowly, but there is no way that it took over two years to investigate something that was laid out in detail for the investigators in the Daily Caller.  This is not a complicated set of facts.  Any good prosecutor could have completed the investigation in a very thorough manner in just a few months even if he or she were moving at a very deliberate speed.  Menendez should have been charged by the end of 2013, but he was not.  Why?

The most likely reason is that Menendez had become a thorn in Obama's side lately.  Menendez opposed Obama's change in relations with Cuba.  Menendez had opposed Obama's weak and desperate negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program.  Menendez had also opposed Obama's attempts to undermine the alliance between the USA and Israel.  Since Menendez was the ranking member of the Democrats on the Foreign Relations Committee, that opposition was doubly important.  Obama needed to shut him up.  Suddenly, after burying the criminal charges for over two years, Obama brought them back to the surface suddenly just when he needed to get Menendez's mouth shut.

Normally, one could think that this analysis is a bit over the top.  Would the president of the USA actually use criminal prosecution to silence his critics?  It does seem unlikely, but then again, this is Obama and the Democrats.  Consider that yesterday, we also learned from the Justice Department that no charges will be brought against Lois Lerner.  Here is a woman who used the IRS for illegal political actions against the president's opponents.  From what we have seen, there could easily have been a series of charges brought, but those might have been uncomfortable for a president who already assured the nation long before the end of the investigation that there was "not even a smidgeon of corruption" involved with what Lerner did.  Once again (like in the early years of the Menendez matter), Obama is using selective prosecution to further his political aims.

This is truly disgusting.  If the American people can no longer even trust the criminal justice system to be fair, there is not much left of government credibility.  Maybe the Democrats should change the name of their party from Democrat to "the people of the big lie".

UPDATE:  To be clear, I think Menendez ought to resign from the Senate.  Even so, this does not justify the misuse of the Justice Department by Obama.


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