U.S. Government officers and employees are directed to avoid engaging in conduct “creating the appearance that they are violating the law or the ethical standards promulgated pursuant to this order. ” Some of those officers, like those who work in law enforcement and the justice system, shouldn’t require Executive Order 12674 – Principles of Ethical Conduct for Government Officers and Employees to know that the appearance of impropriety, including bias, favoritism, influence peddling and conflicts of interest, is unethical, since judges have a prohibition against creating such appearances in their codes of conduct no matter where their courts are located. They also know that as professionals charged with making sure the rule of law works equitably and efficiently for all, rich and poor, high and low, the public trust is essential and indispensable. If the public doesn’t trust the fairness, objectivity, competence and wisdom of those who enforce the law, then the public will not trust the law itself, and the rule of law, and democracy itself, will be threatened.
This is ingrained into every government lawyer’s hide, and so core to the principles of justice professionalism that the news that Attorney General Loretta Lynch met privately with former President Bill Clinton this week just defies explanation. Supposedly President Clinton walked uninvited from his plane to her government plane, which were both parked on a tarmac at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport to chat.
Her only proper and ethical response to Clinton is undebatable:
“I’m sorry, Mr. President, but my Department is in the midst of investigating your wife, and it is crucial that the public does not detect any evidence of collusion or influence occurring, and observes no evidence that would cause it to question in any way the ultimate determination by Justice regarding any possible legal action. You certainly must understand my position…and by the way, since you do understand, what the hell are you doing here? Go! Now!”
She did not say this, however.
She met with him.
Appearance of impropriety.
“Republicans” have long called into question the ability of a Democratic-led Department of Justice to conduct an independent investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server, says Politico. Yes, Politico, “Republicans”, also conservatives, Democrats with a proper dash of honesty and cynicism, Sanders supporters, a few corrupted pundits,and any other people who can’t be fooled all of the time or talked into buying the Brooklyn Bridge. President Obama has already declared Clinton innocent of wrong doing, not that he’d ever try to influence the outcome of an investigation that could, and should, according to many experts, result in Hillary Clinton’s indictment when his party has put itself in the position of having no one else to run for the White House in November. Obama’s State Department has been accused by Fereral judges of stalling the investigation, and Lynch has behaved much like Eric Holder, who made his Justice Department as partisan as any the nation has ever seen.
On the entire planet, there is no one, no one, less appropriate for the Attorney General to meet with than Bill Clinton.
Soshe met with him, apparently, just for the hell of it.
Lynch says she and Clinton talked only of grandchildren, golf, and their respective travels. If true, she really is too dumb for words. The meeting guarantees that the FBI investigation and its ultimate result will be under suspicion of influence and politics. Why would she do this? Why? Was it that urgent to talk about golf and kids? Was the benefit—what benefit?—worth the damage..and the appearance of impropriety?
Of course not.
Democrats, meanwhile, have nary a leg to stand in defending her, and are looking and sounding like guilty, double-taking minions by trying.
Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.), for example, told CNN “New Day” host Alisyn Camerota:
“I do agree with you that it doesn’t send the right signal. She has generally shown excellent judgment and strong leadership of the department, and I’m convinced that she’s an independent attorney general. But I do think that this meeting sends the wrong signal and I don’t think it sends the right signal. I think she should have steered clear, even of a brief, casual social meeting with the former president.”
Exactly. Then the Democrat Party enforcers told him they knew where his kids went to school or something, so he started spinning, saying through his office:
“Senator Coons believes that Attorney General Lynch has addressed this question and said they talked about their grandchildren, travels and golf, and nothing about matters involving the Department. Senator Coons, as a member of the Senate Judiciary committee knows Attorney General Lynch, has worked with her and believes that she is honest and trustworthy.”
She may be honest and trustworthy or she may not, but meeting with the husband of a target of a high-profile investigation when that husband is also a former President is not what honest, trustworthy and sane attorneys general typically do. No amount of explanation changes the fact it looks terrible, suspicious, and wrong.
Oh, she said there was nothing improper discussed? Well that settles it then! What is Coons running, a national gullibility test? If she and Clinton were plotting about how the Clintons would reward Lynch for her loyalty to the party, she’d say they talked about their grandchildren, travels and golf, and if they they talked about their grandchildren, travels and golf, she’d also say they talked about their grandchildren, travels and golf. Lynch hasn’t addressed anything, and Coons insults the public by backtracking with such fatuous foolery.
The creation of the appearance of impropriety is done. It can’t be undone. There are no explanations for it, no excuses, and nothing can erase it. The existence of the meeting will increase public doubt and skepticism about the fairness and independence of the Justice Department’s actions regarding Hillary Clinton. and it should. The meeting was unethical, no matter what occurred.
As usual, there is some silver lining. Pay attention to the journalists who accuse critics of “conspiracy theories” or who, like Coons, indicate that the ethical breach can be repaired by explanations after the fact. Take down names, and remember.
They are telling us that they don’t know what the appearance of impropriety is, which means they are ethics dunces.
Just like Loretta Lynch.
47 thoughts on “Attorney General Lynch, Meet The Appearance Of Impropriety! Funny, I Assumed You Were Acquainted…”
A source close to the White House told me they were discussing brownies.
That one made me giggle. Nice.
Thanks for posting on this Jack. Unbelievable and inexcusable. Thirty minutes to talk about golf and grand kids and travel. That’s as unlikely as the Rose Mary Woods stretch and the eighteen minute gap.
Never mind she’s a government employee. She’s a lawyer who’s licensed in some jurisdiction. And I assume she went to law school and heard about avoiding the appearance of impropriety in her first semester ethics class. And same for Bill Clinton even though he’s disbarred.
What a crew..
And then there’s this:
Shouldn’t government lawyers also avoid the appearance of implausibility? Wow. Is there any directive government lawyers won’t follow to the letter?
Interestingly, no lawyer rules prohibit “the appearance of impropriety,” because almost 49 years ago the ABA, in its wisdom, decided that so much that lawyers do legitimately looks improper to the average non-lawyer that the standard was impossible. However, judges and attorneys general, state and national, must avoid the appearance of impropriety.
The lawyer jokes just write themselves.
Always have, though.
The meeting was worse than even the critics are saying. It”s conceded that the email server belonged to Bill Clinton. Per the OIG report, an employee of Bill Clinton was involved in maintaining the server, which is the same as repeatedly hacking it. It is inconceivable that Bill Clinton was not involved in conversations that led to this scheme. He’s at the very least a potential witness in the case, and should be among the scores of people who should be stripped of security clearances and possibly prosecuted.
Allow me to posit an explanation.
She did it because she, like most Democrats, worships the ground upon which Bill Clinton treads. She could not pass up a chance, nor decline an offer to have an informal chit-chat with the legendary Bill Clinton, “first black president” [Cue accusations of raaaaaacism].
That neither excuses nor explains her actions, as you rightly point out. I’m sure she’s met with him before, but my suspicion is that she’d no more deny a request from him that she felt she could get away with granting than amputate her pinkie finger with a rusty butter knife.
Which exacerbates, if nothing else, the problem you so rightly explain. Her judgment about what she could “get away with” was execrable in this case as well as many others. Politics is the air she breathes, and the Democrats’ rejection of Constitutional rights and embrace of “ends justify the means” makes the appearance of impropriety a minor, easily dismissed sin by comparison.
Finally, I love the headline. Truly one of your best ever.
But what about the likelihood the conversation involved actual impropriety? You can’t imagine Ol’ Bill shaking his finger at AG Lynch and scolding her like a little girl? “I did not have virtual relations with that server! HP 2000!” His temper tantrums in Cabinet meetings were legendary. You don’t think he took the opportunity to put that little ol’ AG in her place and didn’t drop at least one “Do you know who I am?” Half an hour?
I don’t doubt that Clinton would do that — but he would do it in a clandestine manner, not in public.
I actually don’t think anything important was discussed in public, but it is certainly a classic case of impropriety.
But Beth, the meeting WAS private. In an airplane within a secure airport perimeter? Public? In what sense?
I suspect the location was picked because it was relatively clandestine. I doubt WJC’s jet had many markings. I doubt AG Lynch’s secretary keeps a formal appointment book for people who drop in on the AG when she’s boarding a plane and getting ready to take off. Sounds like a well thought out attempt to avoid scrutiny and have a clandestine meeting.
The more I think about it, I wonder who became aware of the meeting and who leaked it to the press.
Her staff was with her. This meeting was anything but private.
Weeelll...it wasn’t public, either, or official. It wasn’t on her calendar, or revealed to the press. There was no transcript. If I meet with a client and have an assistant present, it’s till a private meeting.
I heard this yesterday evening, and since it’s kind of on topic, I just had to share. As I remember it…
The CIA is pulling out all the stops to PUT Hillary Clinton into the White House. Loretta Lynch will be Hillary Clinton’s new Secretary of State and Obama will fill the open seat in the Supreme Court, likely the new Chief Justice. The next Attorney General will be a puppet of the White House. The deck is being stacked against Democracy, the coup is beginning.
That’s basically what I heard. I asked for evidence, I was immediately referred to President Clinton’s private meeting with Lynch and Obama’s very outspoken support of Hillary Clinton. I was pointedly told that Obama’s support doesn’t come for free and he is a “Constitutional Scholar” so a life long appointment to the Supreme Court for Obama would be a way for him to insure that extreme left policy dominates the Supreme Court.
Now a brief message from me regarding this; you will be assimilated; resistance is futile.
Oh Ye Of Little Faith;
SURPRISE! DOJ SHIELDS Clinton Foundation.
*Monday: Clinton meets Lynch
*Tuesday: Everyone’s justifiably suspicious.
*Wednesday: DOJ mysteriously files a motion in federal court seeking a 27-month delay in producing correspondence between former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s four top aides and officials with the Clinton Foundation and Teneo Holdings, a closely allied public relations firm that Bill Clinton helped launch.
*Thursday: Wish mysteriously granted.
Nothing to see here folks, just pure coincidence.
I hope that judge goes after the State Department lawyers who filed that motion.
GREAT read from The Lib, I mean, The Trib:
Et tu, Chicago Tribune?
“When someone shows you who they are, believe them; the first time.” Maya Angelou
Oy Gevalt!! The criminally insane Clintonistas have been showing us who they are for ding nigh 30 years.
Thanks for the link to the John Kass column. His summary of the conversation other than grandkids and golf was much better and more spot-on, Slick Willie-like than mine:
“So, Loretta, what are your plans for the future?”
Obama on the Supreme Court. That’s depressing. Ugh.
Hillary already said he’d be a great candidate, but couldn’t be nominated without democrat control of congress back in February. Depressing, isn’t it?
Cool it; it’s not going to happen. Obama’s not going to want that job, at least for a long time. He can do far more harm elsewhere. And mots of all, make money. Obama-Michelle will be Bill-Hillary all over again. Write it down.
I’d much rather see Bill on SCOTUS than Obama, incidentally.
Jack Marshall said, “Cool it; it’s not going to happen.”
I’d have a tendency to agree with you; however, when you start hearing the exact same thing coming from both sides of the political divide it makes you wonder how lunacy is becoming much more common place in the United States politics regardless of ideology and what results that lunacy can produce?
It seems like rational and logical thinking about politics has been flushed.
President Hillary Clinton’s Secretary of State – Loretta Lynch
President Hillary Clinton’s Attorney General – James Comey
You will be assimilated; resistance is futile.
What Paul W. Schlecht said above…
Nothing to see here folks, just pure coincidence.
FBI Director James Comey: “To be clear, this is not to suggest that in similar circumstances, a person who engaged in this activity would face no consequences.”
TRANSLATION: Hillarity (sic) gets a free pass.
Note to mere mortals: DON’T EVEN THINK OF DOING WHAT SHE DID!!!!
As a former newspaper carrier (06/1967 to ~ 01/1971–Wisconsin State Journal/Capital Times/Milwaukee Journal/Milwaukee Sentinel) I delivered a number of monumental headlines: MLK Jr./RFK assassinations/Sterling Hall bombing/Dow Chemical Riots/Tet/Pentagon Papers/ etc., etc., etc.
You knew it was a biggie if the event was in the rarely used bold Red type.
It’s been my fantasy that I’d get up some morning to read an auto-delivered ethicsalarm post (FYI, the only one I get, H/T Jack!), in that rarely used bold Red type of course.
I feel like Jack T. Colton (Michael Douglas in ‘Romancing the Stone’) after the bus crash freed all his birds & looking at the picture of his dream yacht and lamenting something to the effect “Looks like we’ll have to wait a little longer.”
I cling to Karma, who always seems to raise her head at the most inopportune of times, in this case inopportune for the criminally insane Clintons.
FBI Director James Comey: “To be clear, this is not to suggest that in similar circumstances, a person who engaged in this activity would face no consequences.”
That’s not a free pass at all. It says that this was probably a firing offense, but she can’t be fired.
“Although we did not find clear evidence that Secretary Clinton or her colleagues intended to violate laws governing the handling of classified information, there is evidence that they were extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive, highly classified information…” FBI Director James Comey
In my opinion that smells like white-washing propaganda bull shit. The timing of FBI Director James Comey statement in relation to the Clinton-Lynch recent meeting, the recent endorsement of Clinton by Obama simply cannot be ignored.
It sounded like a speech prepared by Obama’s speech writers.
I could not disagree more, and again, Comey is a Christianconservative lifetime law enforcement officer. He’s right on the law, and was unsparing in the ethics. This is per-programmed cynicism on your part, not good for you, or anyone.
Jack Marshall said, “I could not disagree more…”
Okay fine; so which part is it that you’re disagreeing with; the part where I think it smells like white-washing propaganda bull shit (I think all propaganda is bull shit); or was it the part where I simply cannot be ignore the timing of all this INCLUDING the time of day and the particular day of his announcement which just happens to be right before Obama gets on Air Force One with Hillary Clinton to join her on the campaign trail; or was it where I said that it sounded like a speech prepared by Obama’s speech writers?
What exactly are you disagreeing with?
Jack Marshall said, “Comey is a Christian Conservative…
For the record; I did not say or imply that Comey is not a Christian Conservative; now did I! Additionally; so what? Does that mean he is exempt from direct/indirect influence at his department influencing him?
Jack Marshall said, “Comey is a… …lifetime law enforcement officer.
In my humble opinion; that might hold some weight in an overall credibility argument but it’s really not relevant to any one particular event.
Jack Marshall said, “He’s right on the law, and was unsparing in the ethics.”
Since I think propaganda is bull shit in general, even thought there are truths within it, where did I say that he was wrong on the law or spared the ethics issues surrounding this. He can still be correct about the law, unsparing in the ethics, and it can still smells like propaganda bull shit to me.
Jack Marshall said, “This is pre-programmed cynicism on your part…”
So what? I think my cynicism surrounding this particular delivery from the FBI director is well earned! Let’s face it, all levels of Obama’s administration(s) since he took office have earned cynicism about their motivation, this event is absolutely no different.
I think FBI Director James Comey said somewhere in his speech that there was no influence from other departments on this investigation; I guess the FBI operates in a complete vacuum from the rest of the world and since Obama is not a department it might be factually correct but I just don’t believe it. It’s pretty clear to everyone that’s been listening for the past few months that there was some level of indirect influence straight from Obama’s mouth, and there was clearly some level of direct coordination between the White House and the actions of the FBI and its Director to make today’s timely event happen just before Obama steps on a plane with Clinton.
Am I a cynic sometimes, ya’damn right I am; but, it’s generally well earned cynicism!
Honestly folks; when has either of the Clinton’s given a damn about the “Appearance Of Impropriety”?
Since one of the Clinton’s was involved with this appearance of impropriety, it will be swept under the rug just like everything else related to the Clinton’s and anyone who contests what they say is either insane or a political hack out for a political lynching. It never changes when the Clinton’s are involved, never.
I like Lynch and I am going to chalk this up to a bone-head move on her part, but if I were President Obama, I would ask her to resign.
Beth said, “…if I were President Obama, I would ask her to resign.”
No way, no how; just ain’t gonna happen.
Your analysis is 100% correct. Perfect.
And by the way, I don’t trust high officials who are THIS boneheaded. Neither should the President.
Frankly, all the brouhaha over this is ridiculous, childish on the part of all the RIGHT WING jerks who SAW NOTHING WRONG with JUSTICE SCALIA taking gifts and spending vacations PAID FOR by those who actually had cases coming up before SCOTUS AND NOT ONE FUCKING TIME DID HE RECUSE HIMSELF.
People who are INNOCENT of any wrongdoing do not think all the time about “is this going to look bad” or should I avoid talking to that friend because they are a target of a right wing WITCH HUNT….
Innocent people act NORMALLY
If there was going to be a “secret meeting” it would be SECRET, not in the presence of HER HUSBAND, HER STAFF MEMBERS AND THE FBI AGENTS THAT TRAVEL WITH HER!
Use some common sense people, sometimes a CASUAL meeting between friends is just that.
1. Diagnosis: You are an ignorant tool, based on this astoundingly idiotic comment. The principle of what constitutes conduct that creates the appearance of impropriety is non partisan and written well in ethics stone. This was a slam-dunk example. There is no excuse or debate.
2. The controversy is NOT ridiculous, because there is already a strong belief that laws don’t apply to the Big People like the Clintons, and despite the obvious breaches detailed in the IG’s report, the FBI investigation will be whitewashed and ignored. This meeting cements that belief, unless and until Clinton is indicted. As I wrote. As you are apparently incapable of comprehending.
3. Like most ethics dummies, you think that pointing to another equal or similar breach on the other “side” justifies misconduct or somehow provides a free pass to be unethical. It doesn’t. You think like Donald Trump. Or a nine-year old. But I repeat myself…
4. Did you bother to look up the Scalia case on this website’s predecessor, moron, before accusing me, the writer, idiot, of being a hypocrite? No, of course not, because people like you aren’t interested in ethics or facts, just partisanship. Did I mention you were a lazy fool? Look it up. I also said the Scalia’s hunting trip looked bad, and that he shouldn’t have done it. But for the record, Supreme Court Justices are no subject to ordinary judicial ethics codes, and are allowed to determine on their own what is and is not unethical. Scalia’s memorandum justifying his trip and explaining why there was no conflict was excellent, but he was still wrong. It was still an appearance problem.
Here, I looked them up for you. Took all of three minutes: This, and this.
5. “People who are INNOCENT of any wrongdoing do not think all the time about “is this going to look bad” or should I avoid talking to that friend because they are a target of a right wing WITCH HUNT….” Boy, your arrogant certitude in the face of complete ignorance is staggering. Government officials are required to think, yes, all the time about “is this going to look bad?” Lynch represents the US government. Avoiding the appearance of impropriety and upholding the public trust is a duty of her JOB.
6. Wow—the FBI investigation of Hillary’s deliberate violation of of her own department’s communication policy to protect her private machinations from public scrutiny is a “witch hunt”! What do you know, I wonder? Do you know that the FBI isn’t controlled in any way by Republicans? Do you know what the idiom “witch hunt”means and refers to? Do you know how to tie your shoes?
7. A secret meeting would be corrupt, but, see, to create the appearance of impropriety, we have to know about it. Never mind, this is all over your head…
When I give out awards at the end of the year, this will be a nominee as “Dumbest comment of 2016.”
Thanks for that, but now go away. Good to know that there are people pimping for Hillary who are as stupid as the fans of Donald Trump.
Jack said, “When I give out awards at the end of the year, this will be a nominee as “Dumbest comment of 2016.” “
Why wait; do you honestly think there is going to be a comment that will put this one out of the running?
Ignorant people are like glow sticks, I wanna snap them and shake the shit out of them until the light comes on; however, if the light doesn’t come on, then what you once thought was ignorance is actually stupidity.
Well, we need some competition…
I’ll do my best…
Thanks for showing us exactly how an ignorant partisan hack thinks. With the reasoning skills as you have shown; I certainly hope you’re not a K-12 teacher.
Even former Obama shill/current in-the-tank Über Lefty David Axelrod tweeted it was “foolish to create such optics.”
What troubles me the most isn’t the legendarily staggering arrogance that leads people (across the ideological spectrum) in these positions to completely disregard perception, which is 9/10ths of reality.
What troubles me the most is that they can bank on the certainty they won’t be held to account after the next news cycle commences.
As always, nice pic of William Jefferson Clinton, Jack. I can’t tell if he’s begun to look more like Billy Graham or Andy Jackson.
I thought he looked Dick VanDyke-ish.
The thought I have heard is that Lynch did this to send a message to the agents and prosecutors as to whose team she is on. Now she can agree to accept their recommendations, because they, unless they are pretty close to retirement, know that unless that recommendation is not to indict, their careers are over. In the meantime she issues a public mea culpa and continues on. Actually pretty good, if sleazy, politics.
Lynch isn’t a politician, and I think that scenario is too cynical by far.