Thursday, December 22, 2005

"Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors"

The President of the United States of America has admitted on national television that he engaged in electronic surveillance without getting the authorization of a court. Some would say that is an Abuse of Power. I am one of them.

But is Abuse of Power grounds for impeachment? The grounds for impeachment are listed in the Constitution of the United States at Article II, Section 4. They are “Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.”

We have Patrick Fitzgerald on the job trying to find out if W was involved in outing Valerie Plame, which W’s daddy and some others have described as treason. I am one of them.

We know that the White House was engaged in paying guys like Armstrong Williams to plant stories in the press. Back in the day, that was called “payola,” and some may say it is a form of bribery. I am one of them.

But what about “high Crimes and Misdemeanors?” During the last impeachment effort there was extensive debate about what this term meant. Some took the position that “high” modified both Crimes and Misdemeanors, and that it meant in this context, crimes connected with the execution of official duties. I am one of them.

Others took the view that the term “high crimes” referred to any felony, e.g. perjury in a civil suit. All agree that a felony committed in connection with the execution of official duties is a “high Crime.”

Which brings us to the next question: Is unauthorized electronic surveillance of American citizens a high Crime? For this we must look at Title 50 of the United States Code, section 1809.

§ 1809. Criminal sanctions

(a) Prohibited activities
A person is guilty of an offense if he intentionally—
  • (1) engages in electronic surveillance under color of law except as authorized by statute; or
  • (2) discloses or uses information obtained under color of law by electronic surveillance, knowing or having reason to know that the information was obtained through electronic surveillance not authorized by statute.

  • (c) Penalties
    An offense described in this section is punishable by a fine of not more than $10,000 or imprisonment for not more than five years, or both.

    (By definition, a felony is a crime punishable by imprisonment by a year or more.)

    So, some would say, we’ve got Treason, Bribery and high Crimes. I am one of them.

    Hey, Bush: Three out of four ain’t bad.

    Tell your congressional delegation that Bush must be impeached,

    … and tell ‘em Big Mitch sent ya!

    1 comment:

    Anonymous said...

    You got to be kidding me.....impeached? Get off the democratic crack pipe.