As we were recently reminded, lying to federal investigators is a monumentally serious criminal offense, except when it isn’t. While the language of the relevant statute is unambiguous, the practice of applying it is a science of single instances, since such decisions depend entirely on the professional identity of the suspect.
Aspiring global imperatrix Hillary Clinton is the most conspicuous recent beneficiary of the “Justice” Department’s deference to the privileged and powerful, but she is not the only one. Former US Attorney for Oregon Amanda Marshall has similarly been spared the prospect of five years in prison by a similar decision not to prosecute her for multiple violations of federal laws during an investigation of her official misconduct.
For more than a year, Marshall – who is married with three children – carried out an affair with a subordinate named Scott M. Klein, who eventually ended the relationship. The affair itself violated standards of professional conduct and, possibly, federal sexual harassment statutes. There is no ambiguity about the fact that Marshall’s behavior after the relationship ended – barraging Klein with unwanted and sexually explicit emails and texts –violated harassment laws.
Klein filed a complaint, which prompted an investigation by the Justice Department’s Office of Inspector General. Marshall, who was still Klein’s superior, lied to investigators about the nature of their former relationship. She also lied to Klein by telling him that he was the one facing official scrutiny and potential prosecution, and advising him not to speak with investigators.
Marshall’s actions – which were undertakenwith clear criminal intent –constituted deliberate violations of 18 U.S. Code sec. 1001, criminalizing “materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement[s] or representation[s]” to federal investigators, and 18 U.S. Code sec. 1505, which makes it a felony to impede or obstruct a federal investigation.
Martha Stewart, it should be recalled, was sent to prison after being found guilty of lying to FBI and SEC investigators regarding the details of a stock transaction that was perfectly legal.
“This criminal case is about lying – lying to the FBI, lying to the SEC, lying to investors,” insisted the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York as he announced the charges against Stewart. “Martha Stewart is being prosecuted not for who she is, but because of what she did.”
The official who made that announcement was a rising federal prosecutor named James Comey, who rather famously applied a different standard in a more recent case involving a celebrity suspected of lying to the FBI.
In April 2015, Marshall resigned from her position as a subsidized accuser, claiming that she was seeking treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder. She is now privately practicing law in McMinnville. Her trauma, assuming it existed, was not induced by the prospect of prosecution and possible incarceration. She was never in peril of being treated like a Mundane.
The OIG announced its findings on June 16 without releasing its report. Marshall, who faces an immeasurably small possibility of professional discipline by the Oregon Bar, offered the most perfunctory gesture of affected contrition, claiming to be “deeply sorry” and promising to “spend the rest of my life trying to make amends.”
If Amanda Marshall had behaved in precisely the same fashion as an executive in a private corporation, a significant portion of her life would be stolen from her by the system she dutifully served as a prosecutor. Like so many other feeders of Regime’s carceral apparatus, Marshall was a stranger to the concept of official leniency until she was its privileged beneficiary.
“I’ve always been attracted to justice, and I love the law,” Marshall preened in an interview with an Oregon State University alumni magazine. “I’ve always been drawn to the security that the law provides. It is the great equalizer, and the best tool we have for fairness.”
Marshall issued that homily in defense of her aggressive enforcement of federal prohibition statutes against people who produced and sold marijuana for the treatment of health problems – the legitimate kind, rather than those that miraculously materialize as needed by corrupt officials seeking to cultivate public sympathy. Marshall, interestingly, is arepresentative of that odd tribe we could call “Flower Child Fascists“: After being raised in a Bay Area commune where Grace Slick was an occasional visitor, Marshall drove to her first gig as a prosecutor in Oregon’s Coos County in a car adorned with a “Question Authority” bumper-sticker. She obviously outgrew the best aspects of her upbringing.
“Could I be a defense attorney now?” Marshall mused in the interview, ultimately concluding that she simply couldn’t fill a role in which she might be expected to lie or misdirect attention from damaging facts.
“If I don’t believe something, I just can’t say it,” she continued, every syllable adding to her moral indictment as a self-preoccupied hypocrite. “I remember I was speaking to some high school kids and they asked me why I was a prosecutor instead of a defense counsel, and I said the first thing that popped into my head: `Because I always get to tell the truth.’”
Prosecutors generically are among the most promiscuous liars in our society, which is why Marshall was able to decant that lie so readily and then recall it so proudly. Her mastery of the nuances of privileged dishonesty helps explain why she was appointed US Attorney for Oregon by Barack Obama in October 2011 – and her capacity for vindictiveness would be displayed to good advantage by her pursuit of Harney County ranchers Dwight and Steven Hammond.
The Hammonds were charged with arson in 2012 for two fires they set on their own property that got out of control and damaged land the BLM supposedly owns on the basis of a constitutionally specious claim. (It should be remembered thatwhen the BLM’s culpable mismanagement destroys private land, the agency “punishes” itself by expanding its power over the victims.) They were prosecuted under a post-Oklahoma City federal anti-terrorism statute and sentenced to a year and a day in prison, and served their term in 2013.
Owing to her irrepressible desire for strict application of the law without fear or favor, Marshall was scandalized by Judge Hogan’s leniency.
“I am not going to apply the mandatory minimum … because, to me, to do so under the Eighth Amendment would result in a sentence which is grossly disproportionate to the severity of the offenses here,” explained trial Judge Michael Hogan. “And with regard to the Anti-terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996, this sort of conduct could not have been conduct intended under that statute.”
Marshall’s conscience, such as it is, was shocked by the practice of limited judicial discretion in the interest of proportionality, which she described as “illegal.” Among her last official acts as US Attorney for Oregon was to file a successful appeal seeking the imposition of four additional years in prison for the Hammonds.The terms of that statute “might apply” if a landowner were to “burn sagebrush in the suburbs of Los Angeles where there are houses up those ravines,” Hogan continued. “Out in the wilderness here, I don’t think that’s what Congress intended. And in addition, it just would not … meet any idea I have of justice, proportionality. I am not supposed to use the word `fairness’ in criminal law… But this – it would be a sentence that would shock the conscience to me.”
Thus it was that last December, the Hammonds – who had already served their sentence — were forced to return to prison, precipitating local outrage that engendered a protest occupation of the nearby Malheur Wildlife Refuge. That occupation, in turn, has become a public works project for Marshall’s erstwhile comrades in the Regime’s prosecutorial apparatus, whose pursuit of “justice” in that case – as in so many others – displays a lethal avidity that was curiously absent when one of their own was caught breaking the law.
The impunity enjoyed by Hillary Clinton is the murderous fruit of a poisoned tree with very deep roots.