I witnessed the House Oversight Committee’s Hearing, where former attorney and now convicted felon, Michael Cohen testified, on February 27, 2019. Chaired by Rep. Elijah Cummings. (D) Maryland, it was well- conducted, in my opinion. I thought it astounding in content and execution. As important was Mr. Cohen’s mea culpa moment that revealed the man’s true character.
My interest here is not to applaud Mr. Cohen for his excellence in the delivery of the damning allegations against Mr. Donald Trump and suspected conspirators, but to commend him for assuming the personal risk to himself and family, in testifying at all. Having destroyed himself, already sentenced to prison and not bound by subpoena, his was what I regard as the perfect example of civic virtue. Mr. Cohen explained repeatedly, his reasons for coming forth with the whole truth. I sincerely wish him complete expiation and reconciliation.
There was another man who stumbled and fell, ethically. Dazzled and lured and consumed by Washington’s corrupting power. His story so much resembles Mr. Cohen’s tragedy.
Mr. Jack Abramoff, a millionaire, and GOP lobbyist suffered a similar ignominy, subsequent to his arrest in 2006. Convicted, a cooperating witness, he later served 6 years in federal prison.
“Abramoff pleaded guilty in January 2006 to fraud, tax evasion and conspiracy to bribe public officials by showering them with gifts and inducing them to take official action on behalf of his lobbying group. The largesse included the use of luxury suites at Washington-area sports venues, free meals at an upscale restaurant Abramoff owned and an all-expenses-paid golf outing to Scotland.”
Ten Bush Administration officials including Rep. Bob Ney, (R-Ohio) and others were indicted.
On his release Mr. Abramoff, working nights at a pizza shop, explained his motivations, downfall and how small were the insidious steps that precipitated his way down.
There are many other Cohens and Abramoffs at large in Washington, D.C. It is different only in the expansiveness and reaches, at the offices of most state governments. But before we get optimistic, know that the majority of the miscreants in political corruption cases are never prosecuted. Some will never even be accused because the system fosters the crimes and protects itself. We might as well give preferential treatment and hire public officials directly from our prisons. Why be so crass? Well forgive me, let’s look at what is.
The person we elected in 2016, to our highest office in the United States has a well-known history of gross cupidity. He boasts of it, and he is cheered. On arrival at the White House, he stuffed the public offices with people of his ilk, break all established rules and turned his appointed department heads and U.S. Congress into obsequious, boot-licking, stooges held in line by fear of a tweet. That is!
Whereas many citizens waxed sympathetic to Mr. Cohen, even congratulated him at the close of the hearing, Ranking Member of the House Oversight Committee, Rep. Jim Jordan, (R- Ohio) and founder of the Freedom Caucus, was the only person in that chamber to mock, bully, and vilify, Mr. Cohen for doing what is right and in the best interest of our country. The searing contempt Rep. Jordan exuded from his temporary perch was the most vicious, disgraceful, display of scornfulness I have ever seen one human being direct toward another. That is a thing most criminals do not do. Flailing his arms as he blustered ineffectually, Rep. Jim Jordan cut a comical figure of a man deluded that he can fly, boosting for take-off in a moment. We elected him too.