How California and the Minority in Congress
Can Prosecute the White House for Suspected Criminal Acts
By Katherine Yurica
"Pussycat, pussycat, where have you been? "
"I've been to London to see the Queen. "
"Pussycat, pussycat, what did you there? "
"I saw a little mouse under a chair. "
The question is, "Why didn't the cat see the Queen? " Perhaps it was because the cat, being only a cat, focused only on what cats are interested in. In this article we're going to Washington D.C. to see the power on the figurative throne: the President of the United States. We 're going to force our eyes to see what we have been shielding them from. We 're going to examine the presidency in a way no American has ever examined it before. Prepare yourself.
In recent months impeachable offenses have been traced to Mr. Bush and his administration. However, many commentators have advised their audiences that impeachment proceedings against George W. Bush "will never happen. " The reason given is that the Republican controlled congress would never vote for a special prosecutor to investigate the White House, let alone vote to open impeachment proceedings. So hundreds of thousands of citizens of this country have been raising questions about the future of our representative democracy. For clearly it is threatened.
In my opinion, and this article is not a legal opinion, the Republicans in Congress as well as those in the Justice Department, who refuse to open investigations of suspected criminal acts that may have been committed by Mr. Bush, Mr. Cheney, Tom Delay and present or former Republican staffers in congress, and other members of the Bush-Cheney enterprise, could themselves be prosecuted for obstruction of justice.
Nevertheless, even if congressional leaders actively obstruct justice, all is not lost: the minority members of the House and Senate can still file an unprecedented RICO (Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organization) case against the Bush-Cheney enterprise. Similarly, California 's Governor Gray Davis (or Cruz Bustamante --should he succeed Davis) can file both a civil and criminal RICO against the Bush-Cheney enterprise. If California victims file a class action RICO suit in federal court and prevail, they would gain treble damages. If the state chooses to file in the state court, and it prevails, the statute awards double damages, which will help pull California out of its enormous debts.
If this sounds too good to be true --not to worry. The rule of law is worth following because it pays off. The fact that what I am suggesting has never been done before is no reason why it should not be carried out now. Never before have we had a suspected criminal enterprise being directed from the White House. RICO was created by Congress to reach racketeering activities, including white-collar crimes that could not be prosecuted by any other means. The government of the United States has failed its citizenry. It has ceased to function ethically and honorably. RICO allows prosecutors (whether civil or criminal) to name the corporate entity, which in this case is the U.S. Government as a defendant, plus the corrupt "enterprise " within the government as a defendant, and the individuals who make up the corrupt enterprise and commit the illegal acts as defendants.
A Pattern of Racketeering
What 's more, RICO is applicable because prosecutors can show a pattern of racketeering activity. The first instance of a known racketeering predicate act occurred during the presidential election in 2000 in Florida where the object was to force an election-win by any means. Other events show that when Mr. Bush took office, he placed members of the enterprise in public positions to continue the enterprise activities. Some goals aimed at holding office at any cost; other goals were to reward co-conspirators with the booty from illegal activities, which would be partially returned to the enterprise in the form of contributions that would help insure continued reelection of enterprise members. (Ed. Note: For an article and documentation illustrating this latter point see Katherine Yurica's: "How Bush Pushed Gasoline Prices Sky High. ")
The First Predicate Act
So let 's look at what we now know. According to information from Robert Parry's excellent article, which I rely upon below, there was a conspiracy to riot and there was a riot.
In November of 2000, a riot happened before the cameras of America and the world. Its been dubbed the "Brooks Brothers Riot " because of the prep school clothes worn by the participants. An estimated 250 people were flown in across state lines (including many Republican staffers from Capital Hill) to disrupt the recount process at the election headquarters in Miami. They were offered at the least, an all expense paid trip including: flight, hotel, food, plus promised a Thanksgiving Day party.
According to Jake Tapper 's book, Down and Dirty, two-dozen Republican operatives were instructed by Brendan Quinn, executive director of the New York GOP to storm the room on the 19th floor where the canvassing board was meeting and stop the counting. Their numbers swelled to around eighty. The rioters threatened people, shouted, banged on doors and walls and demanded that the counting of the votes be halted. The canvassing board caved in by reversing its decision and canceled the vote-counting on the spot. (But later board members claimed they were not intimidated.) According to James Moore and Wayne Slater (in Bush 's Brain), "Documents released to the IRS 19 months after the election, show the Bush team spent over a million dollars to fly operatives into Florida and another million to pay their hotel bills. " Corporate jets owned by Enron and Halliburton, two corporations with close ties to Mr. Bush and Cheney, (who may be part of the Bush-Cheney enterprise) were used for the project.
The acts described should be compared to the statutes on crimes. For instance, "extortion " under the Florida statute (836.05) includes verbal threats with the intent to force a person to stop doing something he wants to do or the reverse, to make threats that would force a person to do what he doesn 't want to do. In either case, it 's a felony in Florida.
So we know there was a riot, and according to Jake Tapper, we know Republican operatives were ordered to "shut the canvassing board down. " During the riot, the canvassing board did stop the counting of the votes. The significance of these events must not be lost; extortion is one of the qualifying criminal acts that meet the RICO statutes requirements.
But there are federal statutes that may also have been violated in conjunction with the alleged extortion. For example, it 's a crime to conspire to oppress, threaten or intimidate any person in the free exercise of any right or privilege secured to him by law (18, 13, 241). And the people on the canvassing board were acting as legally authorized election officials and as such, were doing a federally protected activity (18, 13, 245) when they were threatened with violence and interfered with by rioters whose intent was to stop the counting of the 10,750 disputed ballots that had previously not been counted.
According to the IRS published documents, the Bush campaign also paid individual rioters: Matt Schlapp, a Bush staffer from the Austin office received $4,276.09; Thomas Pyle, a staff aide to House Majority Whip Tom DeLay, $456; Michael Murphy, a DeLay fund-raiser, $935; Garry Malphrus, House majority chief counsel to the House Judiciary subcommittee on criminal justice, $330; Charles Royal, a legislative aide to Rep. Jim DeMint, R-S.C. $391.80; and Kevin Smith, a former GOP House staffer, $373.23. Moore and Slater tell us that Karl Rove and James A. Baker III put it all together. According to the Miami Herald, July 14, 2002: Three of the rioters went on to jobs in the Bush White House: they include Schlapp, who became a special assistant to the president; Malphrus, who became deputy director of the president 's Domestic Policy Council; and Joel Kaplan who became another special assistant to the president.
Significantly, it is also a federal crime to solicit others to use or threaten to use physical force against property or against a person (18,19, 373). So if Karl Rove and James Baker "put it together " they are suspects and ought to be subject to an investigation. Likewise, it 's a criminal offense to directly or indirectly promise employment, compensation or other benefit for any political activity or for the support of or opposition to any candidate (18, 29, 600).
And because the rioters were flown in planes across state lines allegedly to violate the laws of Florida to commit extortion, the federal statute provides up to a twenty-year sentence. (18, 95,1952). And lastly, the federal statute provides that anyone who travels across state lines and uses a telephone or other communications device to incite a riot, or to organize, promote, encourage or participate in a riot, or to commit any act of violence in furtherance of a riot, shall be fined or imprisoned not more than five years, or both. The statutes (18,102, 2101 and 2102) define a 'riot ' as a public disturbance involving one of three or more persons, making a threat or threats of violence with the ability of immediate execution of such threats.
The California Racketeering Activity
The next act that qualifies not only as an example of a pattern of racketeering activity, but demonstrates the interstate or foreign commerce in which the Bush-Cheney enterprise was allegedly engaged in, is the California energy scam. I have written at length about Mr. Cheney 's involvement with Ken Lay of Enron in "Fraud Traced to the White House, " published by the Yurica Report.com which lays out the involvement of the Bush-Cheney enterprise with extensive documentation at the end of the article.
The California crisis involves a well-executed conspiracy --a plan to use wire communications in violation of the federal statute to defraud California and its citizens out of billions of dollars in excess charges for energy. And the conspiracy may also have included a fail-safe backup: control of the federal regulatory agency charged with the investigation of those same fraudulent acts, i.e. FERC (Federal Energy Regulation Commission.)
Let 's look at some of the facts and events. We know that the corrupt enterprise was active in the presidential transition period. We know Ken Lay was appointed by the President-elect to screen candidates who would be responsible for overseeing and regulating Enron, Lay 's corporation. Ken Lay chose the next FERC chairman: Pat Wood who was subsequently appointed by Mr. Bush. The facts relating to how Pat Wood rose to the position of Chairman of FERC is an important illustration of the carefully laid out plans of the Bush-Cheney enterprise. Consider the fact that we know that Ken Lay knew how to rig the California system, since Enron testified before a California commission about the system 's flaws and we know that Ken Lay and Enron employees had direct access to the White House.
The Federal Statute, Section 371, is the anti-conspiracy law of this nation. It is broadly written. As John Dean pointed out, the statute renders it a felony "to defraud the United States, or any agency thereof in any manner or for any purpose. " Dean reminds us that Richard Nixon, "was about to be impeached by the House of Representatives for misusing the CIA and FBI. After Watergate, all presidents are on notice that manipulating or misusing any agency of the executive branch improperly is a serious abuse of presidential power. "
The statute makes it clear, if one or more of the persons in the enterprise "do any act to effect the object of the conspiracy, " each shall be fined or imprisoned for up to five years or both. The fact that the two Republican commissioners of FERC, Pat Wood, Chairman, and Nora Brownell, both appointees of President Bush, have unwaveringly held California 's feet to the fire is significant, not to mention they have done it over the vehement objections of the sole Democrat on the commission. It's a bad movie: the commission blamed the victim for her rape. Then it held the victim liable for contracts made under duress that benefit the very companies that joined in the gouging. These findings by FERC are either remarkable coincidences or are the end result of a conspiracy to keep the lid on the California criminal enterprise and make sure that no one traces the fraud back to the enterprise that planned and executed the fraud. This may not be an example of manipulating and misusing an agency for the purposes of covering up and obstructing justice, but without prosecuting the RICO case, we may never find out.
But neither Mr. Bush nor Mr. Cheney were present in California where the fraud took place, doesn 't that remove them from suspicion? Under California law (as well as federal statute) there is no distinction between someone who directly commits an act constituting the offense, or someone who aids and abets the commission of the act. And if a participant can 't be present at the scene of the crime, if he advised and encouraged its commission, then he is a principal in any crime committed. (Cal Penal Code § 30)
But suppose a person knows "X " is the mastermind behind a crime that has already been committed, and he harbors, conceals or aids X with the intent that X may avoid or escape arrest. Is he innocent of wrongdoing? No, for that person, according to the California statute ( § 32) becomes an accessory to the felony. So if you have a person who refuses to give congress any information about any of his own or the president 's activities, under the circumstances, he invites not only speculation, but warranted inquiries and warranted ranking on a suspects list.
As I have previously shown, there is evidence that the president and vice president had to have known the California energy crisis was carried out through rigging and fraud at the time California and its citizens were being fleeced --yet they did nothing. They failed to report the events to any law enforcement agency. While the Justice Department has prosecuted several executives, the members of the Bush-Cheney enterprise have not been investigated, deposed under oath or made to answer in any way.
One worries if the California recall of Governor Gray Davis and Arnold Schwarzenegger 's entrance into the governor 's replacement race, is an attempt to stop the spreading of potential prosecutions in the energy fraud cases. This concern should be examined in light of the new information about Schwarzenegger that has emerged. According to Joe Conason, Arnold Schwarzenegger attended a secret meeting with Ken Lay on June 21, 2001, along with other Republicans. Ken Lay called for ratepayers to pay the billions in debt racked up by the participating utilities. And Lay also "contended that federal investigations of price gouging are hindering the situation. "
Conspiracy to Lie and Lying to Congress
The third instance of a racketeering activity involves the Bush-Cheney enterprise in another major fraud that once again could enrich corporations closely linked to or part of the corrupt enterprise. It involves lying to Congress. No big deal? On the contrary, John Dean, in a brilliant article, "Why A Special Prosecutor 's Investigation Is Needed, " states that "it is a crime to give false information to Congress. " In fact, according to Dean, it is a felony under the federal false statements statute §1001. Dean analyzes Mr. Bush 's State of the Union address. The speech made on January 28th of 2003, according to Dean, contains eight major deceptions made by Mr. Bush to Congress on the reasons the United States should go to war against Iraq. Let me make it clear: this is not about sixteen words --it 's about two thirds of the speech! And it 's about enormous contracts being awarded to Halliburton without the usual competitive bids.
John Dean wrote, "[A] criminal conspiracy to mislead Congress, which involved others at the Bush White House, could also be prosecuted under the conspiracy statute, which makes it a felony to conspire to defraud the government. "
What Can Ordinary Citizens Do?
People who have been educated solely in specialized fields of knowledge often find it difficult to see the whole. A RICO prosecution requires a generalist 's broad knowledge rather than compartmentalized thinking. The culprits in this story are hoping that Americans will see things only in little compartments and will remain blind to the whole. So the future is in your hands. Every American who loves this country must make their voices heard. "Investigate! Prosecute! RICO! RICO! " needs to be heard across the breadth and length and heights of America. My dear reader, it 's up to you now. The dots have been connected.
Katherine Yurica was educated at East Los Angeles College, U.S.C. and the USC school of law. She worked as a consultant for Los Angeles County and as a news correspondent for Christianity Today plus as a freelance investigative reporter. She is the author of three books. She is also the publisher of the Yurica Report.
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