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Shouldn't Members Of Congress Who Abuse Their Positions Get Extra-Long Sentences? Steve Buyer Didn't

These Republicans Are Lucky I'm Not A Judge

22 months isn't half of what he should have gotten

After serving as a Bill Clinton impeachment manager, Steve Buyer (R-IN), became even better known for taking substantial bribes from PhRMA and big tobacco, finally retiring in 2011 to become a shady lobbyist for McKesson and then for R.J. Reyonds, promoting "smokeless tobacco." Two years earlier he actually got up on the floor of the House to oppose the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act by saying— on the record— that “you could have smoked that lettuce and you would still end up with the same problems. You could cut the grass in your yard, dry it and roll it up in a cigarette and smoke it, and you're still going to have a lot of problems. It is the smoke that kills, not the nicotine. It's the smoke.”

Buyer was first elected to represent the Republican suburbs north of Indianapolis in 1992. A right-wing nut and total sleaze-bag, in 2003 he announced he had been reactivated by the U.S. military because of an essential and unique skill that only be possessed (he served in the military as a torturer) and that he was shipping out to Iraq to interrogate Iraqi prisoners. He was granted a paid leave of absence from the House by Denny Hastert. He was lying and hid out in his home in Monticello after his request to reenlist was rejected. The whole thing was hushed up and he slimed his way back into Congress as though nothing had happened. Last year Last year he was arrested and with charged insider trading, having had inside information about the merger discussions going on between T-Mobile and Sprint before that info was public. The day after he got the information, he began buying Sprint stock and spent nearly $600,000 buying up shares ahead of the public announcement. He also passed the information along to close relatives. He made a $100,000 profit when the merger was announced. The SEC also discovered he bought over a million in Navigant stock on an insider tip and made $227,000 when the company was sold.

Last March, he was convicted of charges stemming from both the Sprint and Navigant sales and he was supposed to be sentenced in July. But justice comes slowly for wealthy white Republicans. He was finally sentenced on Tuesday— 22 months in prison. Judge Richard Berman also ordered Buyer to disgorge $354,027 in illegal gains, and to pay a $10,000 fine.

The Associated Press reported that “The judge said Buyer’s conviction by a jury in March was not a close call because the case against him ‘screams guilty,’ and he concluded that Buyer lied when he testified at his trial about when he learned about mergers that he profited from. Berman noted that he had previously rejected claims that Buyer, a Republican, was unjustly prosecuted or that he could not obtain a fair trial in Manhattan because the population of New York City favors Democrats. Berman named six suburban counties outside of the city where jurors were also drawn from… Prior to being sentenced, Buyer, who is from Noblesville, Indiana, told the judge he should visit Indiana, where someone buying a dozen ears of corn for $6 off the back of an unmanned trailer might put the money in a container that already has $300 in it without worrying that anybody will snatch the cash. ‘It’s an honor system. It’s how we live. It’s how I’ve lived my life,’ he said.”

The lobbyist, former congressman and arch-hypocrite was ordered to report to prison on Nov. 28.

I forgot to mention the honor system Republican’s ladies. The indictment also demanded that Buyer's wife, Joni Lynn Buyer, pay back the profits from trades Buyer made for her illegally. And, if that wasn’t enough— after all he’s a Republican— his mistress, Karen Hensel, a television reporter (on the right), told the jury that Buyer traded Sprint and Navigate stocks for her to help her "catch up" financially after their affair. She didn't have to give up the profits Buyer's trades made for her. Crime pays.

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