The Corner

Culture

Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes?

In the “you can’t believe this” category, Washington, D.C. lawyer, former Clinton official, and self-described Hillary Clinton supporter Jamie Gorelick goes to the pages of the Washington Post to complain that James Comey’s FBI reinvestigation is a peril to democracy

That is a hypothetical, although Gorelick had no apparent problem earlier when Comey could not square the circle of detailing how Clinton’s reckless behavior did not rise to the level of an indictable offense. 

What is not a hypothetical, but a real peril to democracy, is Ms. Clinton’s de facto undermining federal law as secretary of state to hide private communications and thereby endanger national security — well aside from calibrating secretary of state face-time with donations to her family’s foundation — and disguising those facts by obfuscation, lying, and stone-walling.

For that matter, what is destroying democracy is an elite culture of amorality in Washington, in which incestuous politicians, journalists, and lawyers go out from government and politics into government-related finance, law, and lobbying, often cashing in without proven expertise or experience — in other words, in the manner that one Jamie Gorelick (whose Post byline of high government service mysteriously stops nearly 20 years ago at 1997) served for nearly six years (1997–2003) as vice chairman of the Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae) under the infamous Franklin Raines. Raines and Gorelick oversaw a $10 billion loss, putting Fannie Mae on the trajectory to its implosion during the 2008 meltdown. 

For all that damage, Gorelick walked away from the Fannie Mae mess with $26,466,834 in compensation and “bonuses,” although for what reason and on what merit no one has yet ascertained. The bonus was almost as mysterious as her own original appointment to Fannie Mae as an outgoing Clinton official, given that Gorelick had no banking expertise whatsoever to help manage one of the nation’s most important lending institutions. 

In today’s Washington ethos, Gorelick, who owed her job to Bill Clinton, and, thanks to him, made millions as her agency imploded, now writes about the FBI director’s supposed ethical problems as emblematic of a danger to democracy — in a not so subtle fashion to help the candidacy of Hillary Clinton. Gorelick’s public career could charitably be called a textbook case of conflict of interest. Meanwhile, no one any longer recalls the millions of Americans who lost their homes and savings in part due to the consequences of sloppy, unethical, and callous leadership of Washington’s government-sponsored finance and lending.

If you seek the monuments of Trump’s origins, look around Washington.

Victor Davis Hanson — NRO contributor Victor Davis Hanson is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and the author, most recently, of The Second World Wars: How the First Global Conflict Was Fought and Won.

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