Tale Of Two Laws: Same Old Story

The law in America currently seems to be skewed more than usual. Anyone doubting such a sweeping premise should consider this. Employees at the financial services giant Wells Fargo created two million credit card and checking deposit accounts in customers’ names without their consent. That is correct, two million and customers were never told. Can you say identity fraud? WF collected big bucks from overdraft and maintenance fees that clients never signed up for. Ultimately, the company agreed to pay a $185 million fine, a mere bauble for the multi-billion dollar business. Wells Fargo’s practices were illegal, but nobody was prosecuted. The Justice Department is reportedly looking into the matter. But it is not just Wells Fargo.

The huge rigmarole involving Hillary Clinton’s emails is another instance where the idea that we are a nation of laws and not men and women fails the fairness litmus test. As Secretary of State, the presidential candidate used a private, unauthorized computer server for official business, which goes against the rules of the federal government. There is evidence the server may have been hacked. FBI Director James Comey called the whole thing “extremely careless.” You would think as an attorney, former First Lady and Secretary of State, she would have known what was out of bounds. But the FBI indicates Hillary’s emails were not just deleted. They were deliberately and completely obliterated by software identified as BleachBit, which specializes in permanently erasing digital information. All of this and much more has been revealed since the email scandal first broke. Yet, while others have been prosecuted for similar actions, Mrs. Clinton has not even been disciplined. In fact, Director Comey blames Twitter for his woes following the press conference about the email controversy. But in fairness to Hillary, this kind of high powered nepotism is a bipartisan matter.

The disparities in how the law is applied are not even subtle. Take former Speaker of the New York State Assembly, Sheldon Silver, a Democrat and Majority Leader of the New York State Senate, Republican Dean Skelos. Though they have been convicted of their own separate corruption charges in Federal court and then sentenced, Silver and Skelos are sitting home released on bail pending their appeals. It appears Albany insiders think Silver and Skelos have a good chance of beating their respective raps. How many average citizens are released while waiting for a ruling on an appeal?

If Charles Dickens was around today, he would have a field day criticizing the people “who are.” In a somewhat Dickensian way of seeing things, perhaps Wells Fargo, Hillary, Shelly Silver and Dean Skelos represent the privileged gentry class, like in Tale of Two Cities. Right now, for some, as the law goes, it is the best of times. But for others, it remains the worst of times. It’s been that way for a while, or at least since Dickens published his book in 1859. Some things will never change.

Photos: Wells Fargo logo – Jathinsarang own work/Creative Commons (CC); Hillary Clinton arriving on stage at the AIPAC Policy Conference in Washington DC 2016 – Lorie Shaull/CC; Sheldon Silver – MTA Capital Construction Mega Projects/CC; Dean Skelos – Matt Ryan/CC; usage of photos does not constitute endorsement by the authors/sources. Video “Reality Check: How Does Nobody Go To Jail in Wells Fargo Fraud Case?”– Ben Swann/YouTube.

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