I don't know how many of you have continued to follow this story about the college entrance cheating scandal that involved a number of celebrities and of course most of the others involved were rich people but Lori Loughlin and her husband reached a plea deal with federal prosecutors this week that will result in them spending two months and five months in jail, facing fines of $150,000 to $250,000 and having to perform hundreds of hours of community service along with two years of supervised release.
What they did was wrong. What they did was illegal. But I've gone back and forth on what the punishment should look like. Should they receive jail time or should it just be monetary? There is a part of me that thinks the jail time is too harsh but maybe not unjustified especially since they were more likely than not being a country club prison. The fines seem to be relatively small considering the amount of money they paid to get their daughter into USC on a rowing team scholarship, that amount being $500,000. It certainly shows the arrogance and sense of privilege or entitlement that the famous and the wealthy have when it comes to following rules and laws.
The other thing I wondered was why they did not take a plea deal earlier in this case. Turns out they were not offered one until just recently. Part of the reasoning for not being offered a plea deal was likely the fact that they continued to maintain their absolute innocence and even when confronted with documentable evidence like emails and checks, they arrogantly insisted they did nothing wrong. So maybe that's why the prosecutors did not offer them a plea deal until recently. But what changed? Turns out, quite a bit and not in favor of the prosecution.
A man named Bryan Singer is at the center of the entire scandal. He is the go between that would find cultures at high profile universities and match them up with the rich people who couldn't get their kids into these universities on their own merits. His emails and text messages were exhibit one in the cases against many of these people and as it turns out, the reason the prosecutors finally offered Loughlin and others a plea deal. Among some of his text messages and emails to Loughlin and others was the claim that FBI agents were pressuring him to lie about various aspects of the case in order to build a stronger case against some of these people. Apparently, federal prosecutors found his allegations to be accurate.
So it raises the question about the environment at the FBI , especially in light of the evidence against FBI agents in the Michael Flynn case. We've been told that the bad actors in the Flynn case and the investigation of Donald Trump's campaign were career bureaucrats that did not reflect the rank and file members of the FBI. But is that an accurate statement?
Just as with any stereotype of some demographic, the allegation that FBI agents are corrupt does not reflect the entire Department but you have to believe that it goes deeper than just the high level administrators in the Bureau. Certainly that law enforcement body has a history of abusing its power for decades under J. Edgar Hoover. It would be naive to think that that atmosphere ever completely left the FBI or that all of a sudden several high level administrators decided to go rogue. And if they were acting in a way that is unacceptable certainly the people that work for them would have felt empowered to do similar things.
That's why I believe it is extremely important that the Justice Department move forward decisively and clearly with criminal indictments against those that appear to have abused their power. We must send a strong message to everyone not just agents in the Federal Bureau of Investigation but to the citizens of this country that we expect our law enforcement personnel to be above reproach and then if you are not there are significant consequences to be paid. If Attorney General Barr refuses to bring charges it will send the message that we tolerate those abusing the power given to them by the people. That furthers the goals of those that want an all-powerful federal government and a one-world government.