A Lesson in Ethics by Ruth Marcus

I'm not making any of this up--Ruth Marcus questions whether we should have gone after FIFA and Denny Hastert:

For different reasons, I find both indictments unsettling — not necessarily wrong, but worth thinking through whether they ought to have been brought.

Holy Mother of God:

Instead, Hastert was tripped up by bank reporting requirements intended to catch drug kingpins and organized crime bosses. His alleged crime is that he structured his hush money withdrawals to avoid triggering reporting rules and then — seemingly on a single occasion — lied to FBI agents about why he was making the withdrawals. Lying is bad. Lying to FBI agents is even worse.

But, really, wouldn’t that have been your first instinct, too? I’d feel differently if Hastert had stuck with the lie, in a second interview after he’d had time to think it over, or before a grand jury. (And, yes, I’m thinking about President Clinton’s impeachment here.)

Hastert did, it seems, a terrible thing. He is, or was, paying for it — literally. He shelled out $1.7 million “to compensate for and conceal his prior misconduct,” the indictment says. He is at once alleged perpetrator and victim of a shake-down scheme; his alleged victim is both prey and blackmailer.

Yes, the first place anyone reasonable or serious would go in trying to excuse Denny Hastert's hush money payout to a victim of underage sex abuse is to the Clinton impeachment because, hell, they're the same damned thing, aren't they?

Good God.

Just so we're clear--we shouldn't prosecute FIFA (hundreds and hundreds of men have died building stadiums for FIFA World Cup host countries, who used bribes to secure the games) or Denny Hastert (sexually abusing someone is far, far worse than paying to keep it quiet).


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