Losers go to jail

by on November 7, 2016 at 3:30 am in Data Source, Law, Political Science | Permalink

That is the title of the job market paper of Mitch Downey, of UCSD, the subtitle is “Congressional Elections and Union Officer Prosecutions,” and here is the abstract:

Democratic societies rely on fair judicial systems and competitive political systems. If politicians can control criminal investigations of influential groups and use them to undermine political opponents and protect supporters, it subverts these systems. I test whether prosecutions of politically active labor unions respond to Congressional election outcomes. I use novel data on federal indictments, campaign contributions to measure support, and a regression discontinuity to recover causal effects. I find that union officers are 67% more likely to be indicted when the candidate their union supported barely loses. These indictments weaken unions’ ability to influence politics, making reelection more difficult for union-supported Representatives and easier for the union-opposed. As such, the discontinuity might reflect reduced indictments to protect election winners’ union supporters or increased indictments to target winners’ union opponents. A series of analyses suggest it includes both. The results show that US politicians manipulate the justice system to maintain power.

His other papers, at the above link, are interesting too, covering voting, labor market frictions, and also the political economy of Afghanistan.

1 So Much For Subtlety November 7, 2016 at 6:19 am

So either Hillary or Trump will go to prison? I would prefer to embrace the power of “and” but that won’t happen.

At this stage I can’t see anything short of victory keeping Hillary out of prison.

2 Ray Lopez November 7, 2016 at 7:48 am

It’s pretty common for political opponents to be jailed overseas for one reason or another if they lose (think Thailand, Turkey, Brazil, the Philippines, even Greece), less so in the USA. But even in the USA civil laws like antitrust are selectively prosecuted depending on who is in office (Republicans are anti-antitrust, Democrats are pro-antitrust). Also laws cycle in how they are interpreted: patent laws go from strong to weak depending on fashion (60s-70s were anti-patent, 80s-90s pro-patent, thanks to Reagan’s pro-patent court the CAFC established in 1982, now it’s back to anti-patent). Inconsistency is bad for business but pols don’t care too much about business. They’ve never created a business like I have (e.g., chicken farming; my latest venture is to import model maids from the Philippines into Greece: attractive domestic helpers and caretakers that are easy on the eyes and good value too)

3 Thiago Ribeiro November 7, 2016 at 8:55 am

Brazil’s justice system is not used as a political weapon. Usually only the guilty people are sent to jail in Brazil. Our justice system acts with no fear an no favor.
There is nothing in Brazil like American wrongful executions. The Brazilian state has always been extemely careful when dealing with the fate of the defendants. Even when the death penalty was the law of the land, the former Emperor used to commute it to jail time since he learned one of the men hanged was actually innocent. The Republican revolution abolished the death penalty in peace time, showing the way for other countries.
The current president is a famous and accomplished lawyer who helped to write the current Constitution, was Secretary of Justice in the most important Brazilian state, presided Brazil’s Congress three times and has a wife less than half his age. Under his correct leadership, Brazil’s justice system is second to none in dealing with the uncertainties that haunt criminal procedures everywhere. The Brazilian people can look foward to tomorrow in the quiet knowledge that its system works and that, under the Brazilian regime, the dream of the late American president John F. Kennedy, a system where the strong are just, the weak protected and peace preserved, has been fulfilled in Brazil.
protecting the civil rights of its citizens.”Carlos DeLuna was executed in Texas in December 1989. Subsequent investigations cast strong doubt upon DeLuna’s guilt for the murder of which he had been convicted.[23][24]

Jesse Tafero was convicted of murder and executed via electric chair in May 1990 in the state of Florida for the murders of two Florida Highway Patrol officers. The conviction of a co-defendant was overturned in 1992 after a recreation of the crime scene indicated a third person had committed the murders.[25]

Johnny Garrett of Texas was executed in February 1992 for allegedly raping and murdering a nun. In March 2004 cold-case DNA testing identified Leoncio Rueda as the rapist and murderer of another elderly victim killed four months earlier.[26] Immediately following the nun’s murder, prosecutors and police were certain the two cases were committed by the same assailant.[27] The flawed case is explored in a 2008 documentary entitled The Last Word.”

4 Troll me November 7, 2016 at 9:03 am

“Usually only the guilty people are sent to jail in Brazil. … There is nothing in Brazil like American wrongful executions.”

I guess you don’t count the ones who bleed out before they can get their day in court?

5 Thiago Ribeiro November 7, 2016 at 9:58 am

In the last few years, the government has crac the death squads and militias, which are becoming icreasingly uncommon. The important point is, the Brazilian system is designed to preserve and defend the dignity of the individual, while the American is little more than justification for murdering, jailing and torturing the poor. The Brazilian justice system represents neatly the moral superiority of the Brazilian people. When Pasteur famously suggested that Brazilian criminals sentenced to death be used for medical experiments, the Emperor revealed that he had abolished de facto the death penalty (the revolution abolished it de jure a few decades later). Suffices to say, the military regime never dared to sentence openly its enemies to death (it prefered to pretend they were killed while fighting the government forces). While most Brazilians were anti-Communists, the regime knew resorting to the death penalty would come as a shock the Brazilian conscience would never accept, a shock the regime itself wouldn’t survive. Contrast and compare with the American and Soviet regimes resrted to judicial murders, (the Rosenbergs, Dmitri Poliakov, etc.). Brazilian moral superiority is unmistakable.

6 Hazel Meade November 7, 2016 at 4:07 pm

So, you’re saying that Brazil is the greatest country on earth? A shining city on the hill? Land of the brave and home of the free?

7 Thiago Ribeiro November 7, 2016 at 7:19 pm

Yes. The prophet Bandarra predicted that it is Brazil’s mission to lead the world against Evil.

8 lolz November 7, 2016 at 5:43 pm

Brazil just had a judicial-parlamentary coup what are you talking about?

9 Thiago Ribeiro November 7, 2016 at 7:18 pm

All legal procedures were strictly followed. The people who opposed the impeachment now, favored and apearheaded it in 1992 when their enemies were in power. Brazil is a nation of lwas and the law has spoken with neither fear, not favor.

10 Troll me November 7, 2016 at 8:23 am

In one of the two cases, I think it is safe to assume that due process will be followed.

What will they do when they come knockin’ for you? Did you think the wrong free thought at the wrong time, and someone had to dig down into the blackmail file to whip you into line?

Let’s have due process.

11 Art Deco November 7, 2016 at 8:24 am

The Clinton camarilla belong in prison. Trump isn’t criminal, merely vulgar and offensive.

12 Just Saying November 7, 2016 at 8:58 am

Sexual assault is a criminal offense.

13 Art Deco November 7, 2016 at 9:07 am

The notion that kissing a woman or putting your hand on her thigh is ‘sexual assault’ is an improvisation of partisan Democrats. Be nice if any of you had an ounce of integrity.

14 Joan November 7, 2016 at 9:59 am

I am just guessing, but I doubt you would not think it was assault if he grabb your whatever or stuck his tongue in your mouth .

15 Troll me November 7, 2016 at 10:59 am

What apologies will you make if it is found that he did rape a 13 year old?

16 Art Deco November 7, 2016 at 11:11 am

I will not have to make any. Her attorneys have dropped the suit yet again and the media have been repeatedly thwarted in efforts to interview her, most recently when her lawyer called a press conference where she was to appear, then said lawyer arrives and cancels. Here’s a suggestion: this woman is a plaintiff of the Jackie Coakley persuasion, if she exists at all.

17 Troll me November 7, 2016 at 12:01 pm

Right. When the guy whose supporters issue death threats and who sicks lawyers threatening to destroy the lives of any person who whispers ill of him, I conclude that she’s a liar when she drops the case.

Anyways, it was always going to be a hard one to prove in court, and if it really happened, in her situation I wouldn’t want to give Trump a chance of a record of a court case that where he was not found guilty.

You state that “media have been repeatedly thwarted in efforts to interview her”. This is a private citizen with a private life, and she does not live at the beck and whim of all of society.

Your attitude is precisely why so many women would hesitate to come forward. Because you think it gives you the right to dissect their every move and entire life, whereas the only question of interest should be “IF the accused is not innocent, can he/she be found guilty in court?”

18 Art Deco November 7, 2016 at 2:23 pm

Nathan, you made up your mind on zero evidence, and embellished it with fantasies. Now you’re in the business of questioning the character of anyone who draws a reasonable inference from this woman’s behavior. That requires quite a bit of audacity on your part (or a wildly inflated self-assessment).

19 Troll me November 7, 2016 at 6:07 pm

Art, does if = is?

20 Troll me November 7, 2016 at 9:05 am

In case there was any doubt about the extent of blindness in your partisanship.

Stick with the local issues where the brainwashing has not completely subsumed your mind. Apparently you do well with what is in front of your eyes.

21 Art Deco November 7, 2016 at 9:09 am

Why not find me an example of someone being prosecuted where the top count on the indictment described something of which Trump has been accused (and I do not mean by a phantom plaintiff who files and withdraws suits according to whim)?

22 Troll me November 7, 2016 at 11:00 am

Raping a 13 year old child would get most people prosecuted.

23 Art Deco November 7, 2016 at 11:08 am

Does it occur to you that an anonymous person who files, drops, refiles, drops, refiles, drops,refiles and then drops a suit 22 years after the fact might not be particularly credible, and might, in fact, be a fictional character invented by ‘her’ lawyers? Most particularly when her counsel is Gloria Allred’s daughter?

24 Troll me November 7, 2016 at 12:13 pm

There was a name of a victim, a name of a witness, a location, time and date.

However, it is not likely that there is evidence strong enough to win in court.

What benefit could there possibly be in signing up to Trump’s enemies list? He’s a famously vindictive person and these girls couldn’t possibly take a dime for being encouraged to do so because Trumpistas and Nazis through the intelligence and police services will be chop chop onto abusing their powers to find any possible way to prove it no matter what the reality is.

So … best just for this case not to go to court. But when someone drops a case against Trump, I assume intimidation on the part of him or his lackeys, not innocent on the part of Trump.

25 Art Deco November 7, 2016 at 2:24 pm

What benefit could there possibly be in signing up to Trump’s enemies list? H

Attention, and a pay day. It’s worth it for some people.

26 Troll me November 7, 2016 at 6:11 pm

I see. Women cry rape because they want attention. I see no other possible explanation.

27 Mr. Econotarian November 7, 2016 at 7:54 pm

Trump’s taxes are under investigation. I think he decided to run for President when he realized he would otherwise be convicted.

28 msgkings November 7, 2016 at 9:03 pm

Nah it’s not that shady. There was a memo that leaked out of his campaign where he basically told his people he wanted to come in 2nd in the Rep primaries, with about 15% of the vote, to build his brand. He was as surprised as the rest of us that he caught fire. Once he did of course he then wanted to win.

29 Slocum November 7, 2016 at 7:22 am

Of course, this result does not tell us whether or not A) the innocent are persecuted by political opponents or B) the guilty are being protected by political allies.

30 Tarrou November 7, 2016 at 7:42 am


31 Art Deco November 7, 2016 at 8:09 am

I’ll wager it’s 90% the guilty skating. This administration is certainly unethical enough to use the prosecutocracy on it’s opponents. I’ll wager you in the vast majority of cases it’s unscrupulous careerists like Patrick FitzGerald who harass the innocent in pursuit of notches in their belts. (All too many of those in the ranks of public prosecutors, IMO).

32 Troll me November 7, 2016 at 8:28 am

Lots of both, but you can’t sway a court with zero evidence, so the data will reflect B. No?

33 Art Deco November 7, 2016 at 8:40 am

Jury trials are almost never used in criminal cases.

34 Troll me November 7, 2016 at 9:10 am

The point is that if you’re innocent, there’s no evidence for the basis of something but may still be targeted for various forms of harassment that do not lead to any legal action.

Which means there is no information on how the courts are swayed in cases of people being innocent.

I’m operating under the assumption that such cases do not proceed to court without evidence, and that the difference between guilty and non-guilty in these cases has to do with deciding what shade of grey is in fact black.

35 Slocum November 7, 2016 at 9:31 am

No, but you don’t necessarily have to make the case stick in order for the strategy to be successful. There seem to have been a number of instances of politically motivated uses of the legal and regulatory system against innocent parties. Even when they don’t result in convictions (or even indictments), the process itself is intimidating, expensive, and time-consuming for the targets.

36 Troll me November 7, 2016 at 2:07 pm

” intimidating, expensive, and time-consuming”

You’d think we’d have laws to prevent such abuses. Or, fancy that, even apply them. People who are subject to such experiences should have broad rights to sue if the situation progresses to the point that obvious witch hunting is going on. Not a la Trump who wants to shut down everyone from saying a bad word about him, but basically to help minimize the waste of public resources and negative effects on the ability to attract talent into leadership.

37 JC November 7, 2016 at 7:39 am

It’s true in a solid democracy like US but it’s nowhere near the brute reality of fake democracies out there, US is in good shape despite what Trump says or what this paper might suggest.

38 chuck martel November 7, 2016 at 7:53 am

All democracies are fake.

39 anon November 7, 2016 at 8:12 am

I agree that democracy is well in America, and despite that being an unfashionable position, we should stand for it.

I mean, when I said I was not piling on Comey, but trusted the process, that nothing interesting would be found .. I was right.

All it took was a little trust.

40 Art Deco November 7, 2016 at 8:21 am

agree that democracy is well in America, and despite that being an unfashionable position, we should stand for it.

You’re insane. Local government has just enough autonomy to sneeze and perhaps blow its nose if the local federal judge or the state commissioner of education or social services countersigns an order allowing it to do so. Local government boundaries are conventional and nonsensical, as are provincial boundaries in much of the country. Police services are persistently placed in the wrong locus. The public schools exist to employ people who tolerate inane teacher-training programs. Full stop. Civil service recruitment and promotion has been ruined by the legal professions race-patronage schemes (and you still cannot fire a civil servant for anything but criminal conduct and gross absenteeism). The electoral calendar is an utter mess and the tabulation systems it uses are crude. The appellate judiciary inserts its snotty self into every area of public policy and makes it worse almost every time. No legislator dares put them in their place. State university faculty and administration have turned their institutions into disgusting little sandboxes and no one does a thing.

41 anon November 7, 2016 at 8:24 am

As my girlfriend says, “have you ever been anywhere else?”

Particularly appropriate this morning.

42 msgkings November 7, 2016 at 12:19 pm

Actually no, Art has famously declared that he has only left his hometown for family gatherings in other parts of the US. He’s harmless.

43 Art Deco November 7, 2016 at 2:32 pm

It’s not ‘appropriate’, it’s non sequitur. Get back to me when your hangover wears off and the man-eating bananas in your John disappear.

44 Troll me November 7, 2016 at 8:31 am

It tilted the polls nearly 5% and now everyone forgets that Trump is a serial sexual predator and molester who cannot be trusted with your sister, or any woman for that matter, for any number of seconds.

It could have waited another month. Just like investigations into how many women Trump has sexually assaulted over the years.

45 Art Deco November 7, 2016 at 8:38 am

now everyone forgets that Trump is a serial sexual predator and molester who cannot be trusted with your sister,

My sister is 53. When she was younger, she was certainly capable of fending off a masher (which, in our low and dishonest times, Democratic partisans call a ‘predator’ or ‘molester’ when it’s convenient for them).

46 Troll me November 7, 2016 at 9:13 am

Scenario: You’re in a room with Trump and your sister.

Several urgent reasons to have to leave the room for a few minutes arise. Do you leave the room or no?

47 Sam The Sham November 7, 2016 at 9:59 am

Of course I do.

1) my sister can damn well take care of herself and doesn’t need a manfolk making sure she’s ok.

2) This is assuming Adolf Dahmer von Stalinmao Jr levels of evil with no self control. Granted Trump is low on the self control spectrum, but neither candidate has justified that level of suspicion.

48 Art Deco November 7, 2016 at 10:44 am

1. Yes, I leave the room. None of the women in my generation are the sort Trump would ever hit on. Those are the wages of age (and not living in a family of supermodels).

2. My sister has an impressively explosive temper and a sharp tongue, which, for whatever reason, she does not use on me. Setting it off would be a traumatic experience for DJT….

49 Troll me November 7, 2016 at 11:02 am


Fine, and if you return and your sister complained about aggressive unwanted advances while her boyfriend was in the next room? Would you get physically involved to prevent her boyfriend from kicking the shit out of him?

50 Sam The Sham November 7, 2016 at 12:13 pm


If it was just aggressive advances, I might get involved to break up a beatdown. My sis is totally entitled to a nongentle nard kick though.

I mostly thought it was a weird question to ask. I think Obama has been playing by the same disastrous playbook Bush has. Both have their hands coated in blood. Would I have a beer with Bush? Absolutely! Would I have a beer with Obama? Absolutely! I’m an alcoholic. The question is meaningless as for who would be the better leader.

51 Sam The Sham November 7, 2016 at 12:19 pm

I’d join the beatdown if I had clear evidence of worse. But these are clearly pointless hypotheticals. Would I leave Podesta alone in my living room with the Necronomicon ex Mortis and a bucket of blood? … I have no idea, but by asking the question I’m doing my part to impugn his character and draw attention away from policy.

52 Sam The Sham November 7, 2016 at 12:36 pm

And now I wish we had a thread about Supply Side Necronomics. Zombie banks would be mentioned. And no, I haven’t had anything to drink.

53 Troll me November 7, 2016 at 2:14 pm

Apparently someone(s) or another have done an excellent job at preventing any genuine discussion of policy throughout basically the entire campaign.

The point was that while I’m not sure that Trump is criminally guilty in the specific legal environment of the present day and politica l reality, that his general character is known. Who would want a president that treats women like a piece of meat?

54 anon November 7, 2016 at 8:39 am

If Comey thought he must send a letter for legal reasons it is a fully clean call. If he felt it was to get ahead of leaks, rebellion, that would be bad.

Regardless, his first letter was mild and the real problem was a media system that exploded it into a 50% chance of the end of the world.


If Zuckerberg should to better, maybe Cowen too.

55 Art Deco November 7, 2016 at 8:12 am

No, aspects of business and industry are in good shape. The political order and the legal system are hopeless, academe is hopeless, social relations in the domestic sphere are hopeless, the churches are hopeless, urban planning is a disaster (and we make wildly excessive use of debt finance).

56 Axa November 7, 2016 at 9:30 am

@Art, realizing we’re mortal beings is hard. One way an individual may deal with fear of death is believing the world will end: “haha, I’m not dying alone…we’re all dying.”That’s why it’s common to listen older people why everything is wrong with the world.

But we’re still here after countless old people have said everything is hopeless. It’s hopeless for the ones dying, not for the “the world”.

57 Art Deco November 7, 2016 at 10:55 am

Betwixt and between your armchair psychoanlaysis, it might occur to you that people of a certain age were palpably present when the institutions just named operated better and practices were more defensible.

58 msgkings November 7, 2016 at 12:23 pm

And yet, every generation gets to your age and declares everything hopelessly in decline. And then they die and their kids do it a few decades later. And all the while the world gets better overall on almost every metric. But keep typing, these pixels are here just for fun anyway.

59 msgkings November 7, 2016 at 12:27 pm

As I get older and start to have a little tug in the ‘everything is going to hell’ direction I’ve come to realize why that happens. It’s not that things are worse per se, but they are unquestionably DIFFERENT. We are all products of our time, and what seems normal and good for us changes with later generations. For example, I am not on Facebook and I don’t see why anyone would waste time there revealing banal things about themselves and reading them about others. But the generation younger than mine thinks I’m insane, and as time goes on the virtual world will keep absorbing the ‘real’. To me this looks ‘worse’ because it’s not how I do things, but it’s just different. My parents thought MY group was too virtual too with our video games and TV instead of playing stickball til dusk at the sandlot.

60 ladderff November 7, 2016 at 3:17 pm

Kings, you have been unusually plausible today. You are still wrong.

61 Hazel Meade November 8, 2016 at 10:50 am

At least half of Facebook is about sharing funny/interesting memes with other people. The personal news is the better half though.
At it’s best, Facebook is a very quick way of letting other people – distant friends relatives and acquaintances – what’s going on with you, and that you are remembering them. The correct way to use it is rarely, and only when something significant happens or, on occasion, when you find something very original and want to share.

62 Thiago Ribeiro November 7, 2016 at 11:10 am

The American democracy is a farce meant to disguise the rule of an oligarchy.

63 rayward November 7, 2016 at 7:46 am

Zeitgeist has definitely taken hold of young and aspiring economists. Are they culture warrior wannabes or just not very good at picking topics to research and write about? I recall the rather mundane topic I picked for my master of laws thesis (the tax consequences of contributing property to a partnership). I picked the topic because partnership tax wasn’t covered all that well in the curriculum (there was one course in partnership tax as compared to four courses covering subchapter C corporations). This was in the dark ages before the publication of McKee, Nelson & Whitmire (the partnership tax treatise) and before LLCs were much in use (because the IRS treated them as C corporations). I suppose it was fortuitous on my part since LLCs (i.e., partnerships for tax purposes) eventually became the preferred choice for business organizations. In any case, my faculty adviser sent my thesis to the law review, which published the thing, confirming me as the go-to guy in the (large) law firm that recruited me. Maybe these papers on (what appear to be) dubious topics by young and aspiring economists will turn out to be as fortuitous as mine, as jailing defeated politicians will become as common-place as LLCs/partnerships.

64 Art Deco November 7, 2016 at 8:05 am

U.S. Attorneys and federal judges are commonly distributed per the endorsements of local congressmen of the President’s party. Part of Jimmy Carter’s trouble with Congress was that he would not subcontract these decisions to them. Crooked labor meatheads are crooked labor meatheads. It’s just that some of them skate because they have connections to the U.S. Attorney’s patron. Pretty appalling, but then the court system is much of the time. (Libertarians only care about drug dealers, of course).

65 Troll me November 7, 2016 at 8:16 am

It is not a priori obviously TRUE that it will cut both ways, but it is a priori LIKELY that it will cut both ways.

Is it credible to believe that a system where this holds for labour, where there is generally a lesser concentration of dollars, does not experience this to a greater degree among those where higher concentrations of $$ can be found?

How much more difficult would it be to re-run the study for those who often sit on the other table from unions? (And the answer to this question should help with solving that grand puzzle of whether such events are more or less common among those who represent the production factor considered generally synonymous with money – capital).

66 Robert Hurley November 7, 2016 at 9:01 am

It is truly astonishing to read what passed for fact based opinion here. I suppose in a facist system Clinton would go to jail and maybe that is what some of you really wish for, but here we have some semblance of justice where people are jailed based on actions that meet all the definition of a crime. Absent that there is no crime committed. Thankfully most voters realized that and accept the findings of no crime.

67 Hazel Meade November 7, 2016 at 9:30 am

Mishandling classified data is, in fact, a crime. People have gone to prison for it.

68 Robert hurley November 7, 2016 at 10:32 am

Only if there is intent!! You might wish otherwise but it is clear

69 Art Deco November 7, 2016 at 11:04 am

Actually, Comey wrote ‘intent’ into the statute for convenience. It’s not there.

70 Hazel Meade November 7, 2016 at 11:35 am


1. What is “intent”? Clinton didn’t set up her own private email server by accident. She intended to do it. Clinton didn’t direct her aides to email classified material to her by accident. She intended to do it.

2. “Mishandling” data means that the material was handled in a way that did not maintain property security. Nobody charged with “mishandling” data is being charged because they “intended” to allow classified data to leak. That would be espionage, not “mishandling”. “Mishandling” means you didn’t follow proper security procedures. Clinton did that. She did it intentionally.

71 Robert Hurley November 7, 2016 at 12:03 pm

Hazel – you have a case of wishful thinking substituting your wishes for the law – no amount of vitriol changes the basic facts. I wonder how many cases on this law you have tried? I’m sorry you are so irate that it obscures your judgement but I suspect it clouds your judgement on most political issues

72 msgkings November 7, 2016 at 12:33 pm

Hazel, think of ‘intent’ as the difference between an ‘honest’ mistake and criminal intent. If someone has a thumb drive with classified material on it and leaves it in their car for a 10 minutes while they go shopping, they mishandled classified information. But it’s not criminal.

Clinton is shady. She’s a politician of the first order. But she’s competent and will be a normal, middling level technocratic president facing massive gridlock. We’ll be fine, and better off than if she had lost.

73 ladderff November 7, 2016 at 3:18 pm

Uppp there’s msgkings back to form.

74 Hazel Meade November 7, 2016 at 4:10 pm

If someone has a thumb drive with classified material on it and leaves it in their car for a 10 minutes while they go shopping, they mishandled classified information. But it’s not criminal.

Yes, it is criminal if they are not supposed to keep classified material on thumb drives in the first place. Classified material does not end up on thumb drives or private servers unintentionally.

75 Ak Mike November 7, 2016 at 4:37 pm

Mr. Hurley: 18 United States Code section 1924(a) provides:

(a) Whoever, being an officer, employee, contractor, or consultant of the United States, and, by virtue of his office, employment, position, or contract, becomes possessed of documents or materials containing classified information of the United States, knowingly removes such documents or materials without authority and with the intent to retain such documents or materials at an unauthorized location shall be fined under this title or imprisoned for not more than one year, or both.

The intent that is involved here is the intent to retain documents at an unauthorized location. From what little I know about the matter, that intent is easily inferred from Ms. Clinton’s conduct.

76 Unanimous November 7, 2016 at 4:21 pm

A few email conversations on your personal email account that happen to mention work topics does not constitute mishandling classified data.

77 Hazel Meade November 7, 2016 at 5:12 pm

Ms. Clinton’s “personal email account” was her ONLY email account. She did not have, and did not use, a State Department email. She exclusively used ONLY her own private server for ALL communications, including ALL work related correspondence.

78 BC November 7, 2016 at 10:01 am

“most voters realized that and accept the findings of no crime”

This seems like a category mistake. Prosecuting someone for a crime requires proof beyond a reasonable doubt as the system is designed to let 9 guilty people go free to avoid convicting 1 innocent person. Voters, however, do not want to elect 9 corrupt presidents to avoid the risk of not electing 1 non-corrupt president. In deciding whether to recommend prosecution, Comey was asking whether there was sufficient evidence to meet the reasonable doubt standard. Voters use the fitness-for-president standard and have decided, or at least 67% have decided, that Clinton is indeed untrustworthy.

Granted, that 67% untrustworthiness rating is based on Clinton’s lifelong record of dishonesty and unethical conduct, not just this one case. That’s why complaints that too much attention has been paid to Clinton’s “emails” are also some sort of fallacy. Voters care about her character, honesty, and ethical misconduct, not “her emails”.

79 Troll me November 7, 2016 at 11:09 am

A three decade long media attack campaign against her might possibly maybe somehow or another have had an effect on public perceptions regarding the matter.

That having been said, some legitimate issues are raised, and I thoroughly look forward to seeing how the media responsible for making a brand new special focus out of age old problems, and most especially going to town on any future Republican candidate, appointee, etc., who does anything remotely similar to what happen in the cases of the email and Benghazi situations.

Betting markets anyone? I’ll give you a ten to one that Fox wouldn’t top even 1% of the level of coverage (you’ll have to add up time over quite a long period of time, because they’ve been beating that horse for quite some time now) for a Republican known to have used communications systems which introduced vulnerabilities with regard to potentially classified information that some third party might send to them.

80 Thor November 7, 2016 at 5:20 pm

Three decades? That’s almost long enough for a right wing conspiracy to become vast, Nathan!

81 Troll me November 7, 2016 at 6:16 pm

Thor, you should be ashamed of yourself. Everyone knows that conspiracies are factually impossible and that only mentally ill people ever get such crazed notions into their heads.

I observe that no one is debating the proposed 10 to 1 odds for even 1% of the level of coverage by Fox of a Republican doing the same thing.

82 msgkings November 7, 2016 at 12:35 pm

BC: sure she’s untrustworthy, but name a politician that has gotten as far as she has that is trustworthy? Politics is the opposite of pure truth telling.

And we don’t even have to compare her to her opponent.

83 BC November 7, 2016 at 4:27 pm

To completely remove partisan political bias, we can compare Clinton’s corruption to that of other Democratic presidential nominees for historical perspective:
Clinton vs. Obama: Clinton more corrupt
Clinton vs. Kerry: Clinton more corrupt
Clinton vs. Gore: Clinton more corrupt (although Gore had some problems — “no controlling legal authority” — nowhere near as many as Clinton)
Clinton vs. Clinton: ok, I agree, these two are the same
Clinton vs. Dukakis: Clinton more corrupt
Clinton vs. Mondale: Clinton more corrupt
Clinton vs. Carter: Clinton more corrupt
Now, compare Clinton to contemporary prominent Democrats: Obama, Biden, Sanders, O’Malley, Webb, Chafee, Deval Patrick, Booker,….Clinton less trustworthy than all.

So, Clinton is in the bottom x% of her own peer group in trustworthiness for any non-zero x. Then, the question is, “How dishonest must a politician be to be unfit for the Presidency?” If the standard excludes the lowest ranked person in honesty, then the conclusion is that there is no amount of dishonesty that makes one unfit to be President, which doesn’t seem right.

(None of this implies, of course, that Trump is fit for office. We can similarly compare him to all of his Republican peers.)

84 msgkings November 7, 2016 at 4:36 pm

We may be splitting hairs here, between ‘corrupt’ and ‘untrustworthy’. I think you are right, she’s shadier than the others on your list. But are we sure that she actually tells untruths more often than those others? When all those guys were running the Reps were quite happy to smear each of them as corrupt too. Pretty similar to the Dems going way too far demonizing Romney.

85 derek November 7, 2016 at 10:18 am

‘Fact Based’ == ‘Not Convicted Yet’.

I get it. She skates due to power and influence, hence did no wrong.

The Magna Carta was a bad idea. How can one change the world and impose social justice ( and get quite wealthy for one’s efforts ) while the peons are demanding that one be accountable to the laws that are written for them?

86 Robert hurley November 7, 2016 at 10:35 am

No she escaped punishment because her actions don’t fit the definition of a crime under the law. Wishing differently does not change the law

87 Art Deco November 7, 2016 at 10:56 am

You’re a fool or a fraud.

88 msgkings November 7, 2016 at 12:36 pm

Nuh uh! YOU are!

89 Unanimous November 7, 2016 at 4:30 pm

Is this what your life has become – making rubbish comments all day, or is there some gang of Chinese or Russian Trump fans generating Art Deco comments 24/7.

90 msgkings November 7, 2016 at 4:38 pm

Just think of all the letters to the editor he used to write before the internet….

91 anon November 7, 2016 at 10:35 am

Fact based? This related. Can you process it? Apply it to this situation?


92 chuck martel November 7, 2016 at 9:16 am

“here we have some semblance of justice”

Justice involves the concepts of legality, truth and most important, morality, a quality that’s currently in little evidence. While legalisms are arcane constructs that can only be interpreted by the secular priests of the legal profession and truth itself is often difficult to determine, even the illiterate and unwashed are aware of the difference between right and wrong. Sadly, in a secular society morality is of no import.

93 dearieme November 7, 2016 at 9:28 am

“If politicians can control criminal investigations of influential groups and use them to undermine political opponents and protect supporters, it subverts these systems.” What a tease: surely we all expected the paper to go on to discuss the Prez using the IRS to harass opponents.

94 derek November 7, 2016 at 10:00 am

So the union guys need their politician to win to stay out of jail.

That makes perfect sense.

95 Art Deco November 7, 2016 at 11:02 am

There were about five notable unions which were largely controlled by criminal gangs a generation ago. I think it’s down to 1 or 2 now. Of course, you still get self-dealing and embezzlement, which you find from time to time in trust-invested enterprises.

96 Troll me November 7, 2016 at 11:15 am

Funny how when the study is about union guys that the conclusions which can be drawn are about union guys.

Do you suppose there are any other categories of people who similar conclusions might be drawn about? Say … maybe even ones who often sit at tables with union guys? I wouldn’t even want to mutter their name, for fear that someone might draw some conclusions that I’m anti-something or other.

97 John A Thacker November 7, 2016 at 12:15 pm

New York City developers, who often sit down with the unions there? Yes, they’re extremely corrupt and should not be trusted with power.

98 J November 7, 2016 at 10:27 am

An interesting element of the current election to watch is the Democratic party constituency that has chosen this moment to stage a transit strike in Philadelphia. Will the union bosses suspend the strike for tomorrow ?

99 Ed Renfro November 7, 2016 at 5:41 pm

They will if they read MR…

100 chuck martel November 7, 2016 at 6:05 pm

What’s interesting about that? Are there only two or three polling places in Philly? Do the Prius mobile suburbanites plan on taking public transportation to the polls? Will this make the inner city Philly voters cancel their vote excursion? Or maybe their outrage will result in a Trump landslide.

101 anonymous November 7, 2016 at 12:10 pm

It will be thrilling to see replication studies across the spectrum. What’s the right-leaning equivalent of union bosses? Gunsmiths? Property owners? Country clubs?

102 Troll me November 7, 2016 at 12:17 pm

Corporate executives would be the obvious one. But they have the shortcut of paying out shareholder money to atone for their crimes instead of facing personal responsibility for what they do.

103 Art Deco November 7, 2016 at 2:30 pm

No, they’re not. Corporation executives tend to be Democrats (media enterprises, tech, casino banking) or to regard politicians as fungible. Partisan Democrats offer a mess of hoo ha about Koch Industries, but their are scores of incorporated donors who shovel more money at candidates.

104 Troll me November 7, 2016 at 6:22 pm

I don’t get your political spectrum analysis. Business interests are no longer business interests for the fact of which political camp some of them sit in?

And, moreover, this may be a figment of the imagination. I think corporate executives who support Democrats are more willing to say so because the Republican brand is highly toxic basically anywhere on the planet outside of the USA.

105 John A Thacker November 7, 2016 at 12:18 pm

Housing developers.

106 Troll me November 7, 2016 at 12:15 pm

Clinton was a Secretary of State and thinks that all the “classified information”, i.e., whatever could possibly be construed as classified across those 30,000 messages, should be completely released to the public to judge for themselves.

I trust the person who trusts my judgement more than the person who wants to pass judgement while hiding the possibility of that judgment being informed.

107 Hazel Meade November 7, 2016 at 4:14 pm

OR, she’s bullshitting because she knows that State isn’t going to publicly release all the classified information in her emails.

108 Troll me November 7, 2016 at 6:24 pm

Maybe. Hopefully we’ll see if it was a bluff if she is elected. Imagine that the president themselves couldn’t clarify such a matter in such a way!

109 Hazel Meade November 7, 2016 at 10:02 pm

I’m sure she will find a reason why the emails can’t be released after all.

110 Troll me November 7, 2016 at 12:29 pm

Maybe the real problem was that Clinton wanted an actually secure communication, and took her next best guess at how to obtain such a thing after crossing the secret service off the list.

Why should we expect access to every word spoken by the known faces and complete secrecy for the unknown faces?

111 Hazel Meade November 7, 2016 at 4:13 pm

If the State Department’s security policies weren’t up to her standards she should have been doing something about that when she was Secretary of State.

112 Troll me November 7, 2016 at 6:27 pm

They told her only the president gets what she wanted (one phone for everything). They wouldn’t do it for her. So she did it for herself.

113 Hazel Meade November 7, 2016 at 10:03 pm

That pretty much sums it up, yeah.

114 Art Deco November 7, 2016 at 6:07 pm

What she wanted was to conceal documents in order to thwart FOIA requests. She didn’t care about security. This isn’t that challenging, Nathan.

115 Troll me November 7, 2016 at 7:13 pm

Fortunately her email was stock full of stuff that would have been very embarrassing under FOIA requests.

Oh, except that’s not what they found.

Theory: maybe she didn’t want the spy service reading her private mail.

116 Hazel Meade November 7, 2016 at 10:05 pm

Because it’s so hard to keep your personal business separate from your work.

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