I hate to use a phrase like "liberal media" because it's so cliche', but some folks don't mind the label and some of them have recently published articles about Paul Minor. (see links below) Nominally these stories focus on Karl Rove, but they spend much more ink in an effort to exonerate Minor.
Both articles I list and half a dozen blog posts from around the country paint Minor as an innocent man who became the victim of Karl Rove's shenanigans. Now that a Democrat is president, I'm assuming all of this is in preparation of some effort to get Minor at least out of prison, if not exonerated.
Minor bribed that judge. There's no question of that. They may call it a loan or a contribution or any number of other things, but it was a bribe and everybody involved knows it. So, he is guilty, but he may not have broken any laws.
The state cleaned up these laws a lot over the past forty years, but there are still many ways an interested person can bribe an official from any of the three branches of Mississippi government and not break any laws. Minor's defense, both in court and before the public, admits he threw great bags of money at judges, but insists he did it legally.
So what? If Minor found enough loop-holes in the law to conduct his bribery without breaking the law does that mean he gets a "get out of jail free" card?
Yeah, I guess it does. We live by the rule of law, and even if somebody does something really, really wrong, they still get to walk if they didn't break the law. It's our responsibility as citizens to elect people who will close up these loop-holes before someone exploits them, not afterwards.
I'm deeply concerned about the sheer bulk of money Minor and others gave judges over the years. Our law-makers simply must take the necessary steps to make sure nobody ever manipulates the system like Minor and Scrugs and others did ever again.
How's this for starters? Nobody admitted to the Mississippi bar has any business making loan guarantees to any judge, appointed or elected, under any circumstances. That's just begging for trouble.
Judges and lawyers are far too chummy in Mississippi. Many people would be shocked if they knew just how close they sometimes are. It's time for that to end. They shouldn't socialize and they especially shouldn't pass money back and forth. There should be an imaginary, but impenetrable wall between Mississippi judges and anyone who might practice before their bar.
Jackson Free Press
Ya'll Politics Blog
There's a lot more about this in the Blogosphere. If I left anybody out, I apologize.