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.