Monday, June 1, 2015

Addendum on Greenwald's gross Hastert defense

In my last post on Greenwald, I pointed out that Glenn is not merely complaining about over-criminalization; part of his argument amounts to an in-principle objection to the very criminalization of financial misconduct and lying to the FBI. This is perfectly obvious to anyone who's acquainted with his Libertarian caste of thought, but just to hammer the point home I noted an argument he made, here quoted in full:
Indeed, who is the victim in Hastert’s alleged crimes, which — again — do not include the “past misconduct”? He literally faces felony counts and years in prison for hiding an agreement to pay someone claiming to have been victimized by him, an agreement that is perfectly legal and standard (even common) when done with lawyers as part of an actual or threatened court case.
This, as Glenn knows, is absolutely incorrect. Even his own apologists, like @bmaz, have accidentally articulated the problem here:

Hastert does not, as Glenn claimed, face jail time for his arrangement with the victim. That is completely immaterial to the charges at hand. Hastert faces jail time for allegedly evading financial regulations by securing funds in an illegal way, and then lying about it to the FBI. What those funds happened to pay for has absolutely zero bearing on those charges. 

Glenn has a background in law. And he is not, as generously mentioned, a dumb guy. He cannot be mistaken about such a simple point. It seems clear to me that he is advancing what he must know is a completely specious objection and hoping that his readers don't think too hard about it. He's also relying on readers who do notice what he's doing not to call him on it, and to attack those who do. His faith is not misplaced.