Saturday, February 09, 2013

Why Republicans in Congress are Guilty of Conspiracy to Obstruct Justice

In 2010 Congress passed the Dodd-Frank Act which establishes the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) as the agency with enforcement power over the Financial industry.  This agency has an important role in preventing another financial disaster as created by a financial industry that enjoyed excessive liberation from regulations during the Bush administration.  The Act is now the law.  

Republicans, in their carefree joy for obstruction of all of President Obama's policies, have decided to take on the CFPB and the Dodd-Frank Act by preventing the approval of Richard Cordray as the CFPB Director.   You may ask, how is this conspiracy to obstruct justice?

We know that crimes were committed that caused the meltdown of financial markets prior to the 2008 crash.  The white collar criminals who committed those crimes are still free.  Although their criminal methods may have become dormant, there is still a public outcry that justice be done by finding and   incarcerating these criminals.  The CFPB is the agency that could make that happen, but their enforcement power is nullified without a Director.  It is the Republicans who are obstructing the actions of the CFPB.  

Congressional Republicans who have sent a letter to President Obama explaining their demands, admit that they are taking the action to reject the President's choice of a Director because they want to weaken CFPB's power.  In using their power to reject the Director, they have lied about their real intentions.  They don't disapprove of Richard Cordray.  They have stated that they will not approve of any Director until the powers of the CFPB as are legally established by the law are changed.  They have conspired to create this fraud against the CFPB and the United States with the admitted intention of obstructing it's legal authority.  This is conspiracy to obstruct and conspiracy to defraud.

The following is the legal explanation of "Conspiracy to Obstruct" (18 U.S.C. 371).

If two or more persons conspire either to commit any offense against the United States or to defraud the United States, or any agency thereof in any manner or for any purpose, and one or more of such persons do any act to effect the object of the conspiracy, each shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than five years, or both.

The following is the legal explanation of "Conspiracy to Defraud" 

Section 371 contains both a general conspiracy prohibition and a specific obstruction conspiracy prohibition in the form of a conspiracy to defraud proscription. The elements of conspiracy to defraud the United States are: (1) an agreement of two or more individuals; (2) to defraud the United States; and (3) an overt act by one of conspirators in furtherance of the scheme.  The "fraud covered by the statute ‘reaches any conspiracy for the purpose of impairing, obstructing or defeating the lawful functions of any department of Government” by “deceit, craft or trickery, or at least by means that are dishonest.” The scheme may be designed to deprive the United States of money or property, but it need not be so; a plot calculated to frustrate the functions of a governmental entity will suffice.

It is true that Congress has immunity from prosecution for acts they commit in the normal operation of their duties as legislators.  It does not protect them from committing crimes or violating existing laws.  A case could be made for this obstruction being a criminal act where the department they are obstructing is a federal agency and the actions these Republicans are taking is protecting criminals from prosecution and has done so now since 2010.  These Republicans have certainly over-stepped their normal authority and entered the realm of disobedience of law.

At the very least, every one of the 43 members of Congress who signed Mitch McConnell's conspiracy letter should be fined.  But wouldn't it be great if we could end this obstruction by putting them all in jail.  


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