A federal judge sends the wrong message
Former Democrat Governor Roger Wilson was sentenced to two years probation today. He had pleaded guilty to two counts of money laundering on behalf of the Missouri Democrat party. Owing to his political connections Wilson, after leaving the governor’s mansion, became CEO of Missouri Employers Mutual (MEM.) MEM is a very profitable tax-exempt GSE (government-sponsored enterprise, like Fanny Mae and Freddy Mac) set up by the state to provide workman’s compensation insurance. (Smell anything?) Wilson had the company pay phony legal billings to reimburse donations to the Democrat party. The offenses are described as money laundering, but in fact amount to theft, since the company’s shareholders were on the hook for the payments.
We find this sentence predictable and disgusting.
We will readily concede that Governor Wilson is an extremely likable man and a much better golfer than we are. He even benefitted from an editorial in the Columbia Daily Tribune minimizing his crime and stating he “deserves a slap on the wrist.”. The judge acknowledged that Wilson’s record of public service helped him escape the hoosegow.
Let us present the case for jail time.
His record of public service should not be exculpatory, but rather the opposite, since as a former Governor he should be held to the highest standards. “Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required…” (Luke, 12:48)
The public, disgusted with professional politicians, will naturally believe that there are two laws, one for the political class, the other for the rest of us. Or three laws: one for Democrat politicians, a second, harsher, for Republicans, and a third one, severe, for us mere mortals. Wilson’s light sentence will not help reduce this perception.
Now this case is not about garden-variety theft, but theft for partisan political purposes. Should not this alone call for a severe sentence?
It hasn’t been given much play in the media that the donor to the Democrat party was the Herzog Crebs law firm. Now why would a firm of trail lawyers give money to the Democrats? We leave the answer to our readers’ imagination, gently reminding them of the trial attorneys’ strident opposition to reform of the Missouri Plan for selecting high-ranking judges. This is an example of dirty politics and a stain on honest Democrats. No wonder it has not been possible to bring about tort reform in Missouri.
Corruptio optimi pessima.