A Tale of Two Senators - and One Corrupt Prosecutor
The law is supposed to be blind - to establish one set of rules that applies to all people - rich or poor; white or black; Republican or Democrat, equally. That is the ideal of the Rule of Law, and although people too often fail to meet that ideal, a constant bias and refusal by powerful government officials to apply the law equally has already eroded respect for the law, and our system of democratic governance.
Take the example of two longtime former Senators: One from Long Island, a Republican, Dean Skelos, who is sitting - a convicted felon - in an upstate prison cell. The other one, a Democrat from Delaware, Joe Biden, who is today a leading contender for President of the United States. Both used their offices to protect and financially benefit their "troubled" sons, but their treatment by our government prosecutors couldn't be more different:
Dean Skelos was Majority Leader of the NYS Senate. He encouraged two businesses lobbying the Senate to hire his adopted son, Adam Skelos. The younger Skelos had longtime developmental and substance abuse issues, and had a hard time finding and keeping a job. So his father reached out to his "friends" for help. Some of these inquiries were picked-up on wiretaps run by Obama's US attorney in New York, Preet Bharara. What followed was Bharara's federal indictment of both Skelos and his son, for their "conflict of interest;" their conviction, reversal on appeal, re-conviction, and sentencing to five years in jail. Both are now convicted felons - and bankrupt.
The story of Joe Biden and his son Hunter is well known. Obama appointed Joe Biden as "Ukraine Tsar" over US policy towards Ukraine, and Hunter immediately cashed-in with a $4 million no-show kick-back contract from Burisma, a Ukrainian gas firm under criminal investigation. The elder Biden was aware of the obvious "conflict of interest," but did not decline and return the Ukraine portfolio. Instead, he "doubled down" and withheld $1 billion in US aid to extort the firing of Victor Shokin the Ukrainian Prosecutor General, investigating of his son's firm. And neither Bharara - nor anyone else at Obama's DOJ did anything to stop that conflict - after all he himself was appointed by the administration of which Biden was Vice President - another "conflict of interest."
The widespread sentiment that "the system is corrupt" and the "system is rigged" flows from such examples of the corrupt discrepancies in the application and enforcement of our laws. Those sentiments are not only corrosive and destructive to the rule of law, but they become self-fulfilling as people increasingly act under the assumption that everything is a corrupt fraud. We need to do better as a society - and demand fair and equal treatment under our laws.