Our local paper had a political cartoon today with a dude exclaiming to his wife:
“Just think — if Donald Trump can be indited for misappropriating funds to pay hush money to a porn star he slept with while his wife was home with their newborn baby … WHAT’S TO PREVENT THAT FROM HAPPENING TO *ME*?”
And the cartoon answer? “Me, dear. Me, and the second amendment.”
But that skips the reality of the potential charge — what’s to stop that from happening to you? Are you running for office and raising money for your campaign? If not … then you CANNOT misappropriate funds (and lie about it) full stop. For the small percentage of Americans for whom the answer is “why, yes I am raising money for my political campaign”? Then the answer is YOU. Make your bribe and extortion payments from YOUR money. Dude isn’t being investigated for making a hush money payment. He’s being investigated for taking money that other people donated to help him get elected, using that for a hush money payment, and falsifying campaign expenditure reporting to hide that the money was used for that purpose.
It’s funny because I encountered something similar early in my career — the company had a lot of rules around spending money. But there were some things you could “expense” — basically use the corporate AmEx to cover & never have to account for. The IT manager had an agreement with a local supplier to submit invoices for items that qualified for expense purchasing — “LAN Cables”, “CD-R Media” — in spite of the fact he was actually picking something else up. I was sent to pick up the handheld radios he ordered, and I couldn’t because the invoice they wanted me to sign was for cat6 cables. I wasn’t trying to make a moral stand (at the time, I didn’t realize there was a moral stand to take) … I just didn’t see how I could submit an expense report with a receipt that didn’t match up with what we were purchasing. The manager explained it to me … and I’m sure he sent someone else to subvert company purchasing policies for him. But he wasn’t the manager for long after the lies were discussed with his manager — a new site manager was brought in & they discovered that the office had purchased tens of thousands of dollars of “fun stuff” — pool table, big screen TV, sofas, alcohol — and outfitted a hidden room in the warehouse. Employees were taking computers, TVs, etc home too. None of those people were fired for buying a TV or computer — they were fired for stealing from their employer and falsifying purchase records.