The Right’s Selective Enforcement of Criminal Law

Photo by DonkeyHotey | CC BY 2.0

Photo by DonkeyHotey | CC BY 2.0

 

On March 22, organizations led by Charles and David Koch, who have made tens of billions of dollars from the environmentally toxic business that they inherited from their father (Koch Industries), issued a lucrative offer to Republican congressmen: vote against Rep. Paul Ryan’s healthcare bill in exchange for generous 2018 campaign donations. Naturally, the flip-side of their offer was a threat: vote for the bill and we give you nothing.

The two multi-billionaires opposed Ryan/Trumpcare because of their libertarian, Social Darwinist belief that everybody, no matter how poor, is on his/her own and should not receive even the most minimal help from the government. This is an old American story – white plutocrats, deluded into thinking that they are self-made men rather than fantastically lucky beneficiaries of their parents’ wealth, opting to manipulate politicians into helping them keep as much of it as possible – and then helping them make even more to boot.

Aside from the Koch Brothers’ callousness, insatiable greed, and arrogant sense of entitlement, the real story here is that they just committed a serious white-collar crime: bribery. Bribery, as defined in federal statute 18 U.S.C. § 201, includes “directly or indirectly, corruptly giv[ing], offer[ing] or promis[ing] anything of value to any public official . . . with intent to influence any official act . . .”

For our purposes, the most important words in this…

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