Crimes by politicians continue to go unpunished and underreported

I am concerned about the unaddressed political crime wave across America. High profile cases occasionally make headlines. But it appears that hundreds or thousands of crimes are charged, underreported, and not prosecuted. It seems like hardly a day goes by that an elected politician is not named in criminal charge somewhere and then we rarely hear about the case again. This blog post is inspired by two cases of horrific actions by elected state officials that I learned about yesterday.

High profile politicians from at least six states including Mo Brooks, Matt Gaetz, Andy Biggs. Louie Gohmert, Scott Perry, Marjorie Taylor Greene, and Jim Jordan all asked former president Trump for pardons for their crimes back in 2020. We presume they must have known that the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that seeking a presidential pardon carries an imputation of guilt and that acceptance is a confession of guilt. None of them were offered pardons for their crimes. Yet more than three years later, not a single one of them faces the criminal  consequences that they feared when they begged the president for a pardon.

National news reported on the very few high profile elected politicians who plead guilty to charges:

Duncan Hunter, former Representative from California, pleaded guilty to misusing campaign funds.

Chris Collins, former Representative from New York, pleaded guilty to insider trading and lying to the FBI.

Steve Watkins, former Representative from Kansas, was charged with voter fraud.

Jeff Fortenberry, former Representative from Nebraska, was found guilty of lying to federal authorities.

In my state of New Jersey, news media is focused on the multiple criminal charges against Senator Menendez over several years. He has avoided trial so far and still remains in office. Many here conclude that we’ve allowed the concept of ‘innocent until proven guilty’ to be used in the wrong context.


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, it appears that media sources are not even tracking the much larger number of state and local politicians who are charged with crimes but avoid trials. See the Gemini inquiry here:

Media is not even tracking politicians charged with crimes

I am sensitized to this issue because I have been physically assaulted twice by elected government officials. In both cases they avoided criminal consequences and in both cases there was a later admission or a legal finding of mishandling of the criminal investigation by police or prosecutors. In one case another man, not a politician, was charged with conspiracy to murder. The politician was named as the conspirator, settled civil charges, but avoided criminal charges.

It is easy to conclude that our law enforcement system is aiding criminals.

We live in a country where a politician can openly beg for a criminal pardon and, not getting it, still enjoy the same outcome as if the pardon had been granted. It appears that statistically, the odds of an elected official facing consequences for a crime they are charged with is so low as to be laughable – if it were not so damaging on the rest of our society.