Updated: Mar 17, 2022
People have faith in Justice when it's administered fairly-- and not just as a weapon against poor people and people of color. I noticed this report from ABC News today about the select committee not serving subpoenas to members of Congress who conspired with the insurrectionists. I hope you read the last post, earlier this afternoon, which also covered unequal Justice. There were a bunch of tweets by Missouri Senate candidate Lucas Kunce talking about equal justice. This afternoon he told me that "We’ve got people in jail cells for smoking weed while members of Congress get away with insider trading every single day. This isn’t just about accountability-- it’s about justice. It’s why we’re running on a message of fundamentally changing who has power in this country. Politicians have stripped out community for parts while raking In campaign cash from Big Pharma, Big Oil, defense contractors, and other oligarchical forces that betray our country and sell out working Americans. America deserves better than white collar criminals calling the shots."
Progressive congressional candidate Jason Call certainly gets the connection-- and in spades. He's running on similar ideas, although for the House, not the Senate. "I'm really not at all surprised that the select committee isn't going to move forward with subpoenas," he told me this morning. "It kinda feels like when Obama got elected and said we're going to look forward, not backward, in regards to any investigation of the Bush/Cheney administration's lying to Congress to start a war for oil in Iraq. We have a real problem with holding our government officials accountable for anything at all. What's happening with any investigation of congressional insider trading and violations of the STOCK Act? Nothing. They get a $200 fine, if there's any accountability at all."
He continued that he "can't get anyone in the mainstream media to even take a second look at accountability for WA-02 incumbent Rick Larsen and his failed leadership as Chair of Aviation that quite literally led to the Boeing 737MAX crashes in 2018-19. None of this avoidance of accountability leads to any bolstering of faith in the US government, faith that is needed but sorely lacking. Faith that the majority of Congress members are in it for anything other than personal gain, either directly or indirectly (for instance, getting that revolving door lobbyist job on retirement from Congress). Furthermore, one has to question whether the real impetus to sideline subpoenas is that nobody in Congress actually wants this precedent for accountability set, because ultimately it would rock the status quo too much. We remain in dire straits for the foreseeable future."
Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia is running for an open congressional seat in southeast L.A. County, squaring off against an "ex"-Republican pretending to be a Democrat. She asked, "Can one blame anyone for feeling our political system is rigged when potentially seditious politicians can use the same system we're all supposed to trust to escape complicity? If our democracy collapses we will only have ourselves to blame. Enough of this good ol' boy insider nonsense, we need leaders with the heart of a mother lion."
The ABC News report quoted a select committee spokesperson who works for chairman Bennie Thompson and probably didn't realize that no one likes Doublethink in 2022: "The Select Committee is determined to get all relevant information and all options remain on the table. The committee's investigation is uncovering new facts every day and we want to hear from all witnesses." Thompson said that "If we subpoena them and they choose not to come, I'm not aware of a real vehicle that we can force compliance."
Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL), a member of the committee, said on ABC News' This Week in December that he "absolutely" thinks his colleagues should be subpoenaed to testify before the committee if necessary.
The committee has disclosed that several GOP lawmakers communicated with former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows before and during the Capitol attack, according to thousands of pages of emails and text messages Meadows turned over to the committee before he reversed course and refused to cooperate with the investigation.
Perry, a leader of the House Freedom Caucus who communicated with Meadows ahead of the attack, was the target of the committee's first known request to a sitting Republican lawmaker.
The committee also said Perry played an "important role" in efforts to install former Justice Department official Jeffrey Clark as attorney general in the days before the Jan. 6 attack, as Clark was pushing unproven claims of election fraud.
Some Republicans have also made it clear that if they regain power in the House following the upcoming midterms, they would seek retribution against Democrats and associates of President Joe Biden over the committee's investigation.
"Joe Biden has eviscerated Executive Privilege," Rep. Jordan wrote on Twitter after former Trump White House adviser Steve Bannon was charged in November with criminal contempt of Congress for defying a subpoena.
"There are a lot of Republicans eager to hear testimony from Ron Klain and Jake Sullivan when we take back the House," Jordan wrote, referencing Biden's chief of staff and national security adviser.
Marie Newman is in a tough D vs D race in a redrawn Chicagoland district, running to hold her seat against a garden variety establishment placeholder, Sean Casten. Never heard of him? Don't worry no one else ever did either-- and there's no reason why anyone should have. [Please contribute to Newman's campaign here.] In any case, this morning, she told me that "This is simple, if someone receives a subpoena, it should not be optional for some and mandatory for everyone else. Everyone should be treated the same no matter who you are." Corrupt members of Congress don't like that kind of thinking. They fancy themselves little princes and princesses, above the rule of law.
Hopefully North Carolina progressive Erica Smith will be serving with Marie starting in 2023. They certainly see eye-to-eye on equal justice under the law. "People," Erica told me this afternoon, "are sick and tired of elected officials not even being held to the lowest possible standards. We have members of Congress engaging in insider trading and trying to overthrow a Democratically elected government only to face less severe consequences than Black and Brown children who are caught with possession of cannabis. Justice is passing voting rights. Justice is legalizing cannabis. Corruption is when criminals are not held accountable because of their influence and power. I believe in a Government that takes on corruption and secures justice. That's what I'm fighting for. That's what people in NC-01 and all over the country deserve."
Like, Erica, Vincent Fort was a prominent progressive state senator, now running for Congress. He served in the Atlanta area and this year he's challenging conservative Blue Dog, David Scott. "It will be shameful if the Select Congressional Committee does not pursue subpoenas to require insurrectionist Congress members like Jim Jordan and others to testify and cooperate with the Committee. A central tenet of the rule of law is that no person is above the law. If the Select Committee does not pursue subpoenas the rule of law will be weakened. The law should be applied fairly to both the powerful and the powerless; to the rich and to the poor; and whites and people of color."
UPDATE: Willian Blount
I had a fascinating talk with Alan Grayson last night. He told me the story of a former U.S. senator from Tennessee. You think Marsha Blackburn and Bill Hagerty are bad? They are... but what til you hear about William Blount, who was elected to the Senate in 1796, two months after statehood-- and expelled a year later. Blount, one of the richest men in Tennessee, was a land speculator who conspired with Britain against the U.S. in order to enhance his fortune. He proposed that Britain seize Florida and Louisiana. He was the first federal elected official to face impeachment and it was due to Blount that Congress had to deal with the very thorny issue of disciplining its own members. "Blount," Grayson told me, "was expelled from the Senate in 1797 for conspiring against the United States Government. Have the rules somehow been relaxed since then? Of course, anyone who was involved in the Jan. 6 coup attempt must be investigated and punished, whether or not they happen to have been elected officials in that Government-- just like Blount was."