Fri, 03 Apr 2009 20:30:09 +0000 – By Glenn BeckHost, "Glenn Beck"
Before I start ranting about politics, I'd like to start off by ranting about something equally important:
When's the last time you saw "The Firm"--you know, that Tom Cruise movie about the law firm...based on the John Grisham book? After this last week and my bout with Connecticut's Attorney General, I couldn't help thinking back to it.
"Big Brother" doesn't get to decide how much money you "deserve"--that's between you and your employer. Honor the contracts and the law. The bottom line is that Attorney Generals enforce laws--they're not bullies who get to improvise, embellish or interpret them.
So here's Cruise's predicament: If he helps the Feds against the mob, he'll have to go into the witness protection and his law career is over (and potentially, his life). To make matters worse, if he provides the Feds with the documents they want, he'll be breaching his attorney-client privilege and, even if the mob didn't get him, he still would get disbarred. It was a lose-lose situation until...he had an idea. Cruise had discovered that his firm had been over-billing all their clients, and by putting those bills in the mail they had committed fraud. It wasn't a flashy angle, but it was enough to get him out of the gangster's crosshairs and legallygive the Feds all they needed to go after "the firm." In one of the film's closing lines, Cruise says to a federal agent, "You actually made me think about the law."
Amen. And it's not just an idealistic character in a movie that feels that way. To paraphrase George Washington--the Father of our Country--we must respect laws above men. We cannot play fast and loose with the law because we like some men better than others. Remember--Lady Justice is blindfolded to represent that justice is blind to whom it applies...that the laws are impartial and apply equally to everyone. That central idea insures that we are all scrutinized and protectedequally. Funny how some people have forgotten that...like Connecticut's Attorney General Richard Blumenthal.
This week I spoke to Mr. Blumenthal about his actions to block American International Group--AIG--from paying out hundreds of millions of dollars in bonuses. I've made it very clear that I don't like the idea of bonuses being paid out to a company that needed your and my tax dollars to bail them out, but I also respect the law above revenge. Those AIG employees are contractually entitled to that money--I don't like it any more than you do, but it's true. Here's a bit of the conversation I had with the Attorney General:
BECK: OK. You know, the one thing I was going through the interviews with you, and nobody has asked this question and I'm just dying to know. And I know you will have the answer - what law did the AIG executives break when they took those bonuses that were mandated by a legal contract?
BLUMENTHAL: The AIG executives did not themselves break a contract.
BECK: So then why were you going after them?
BLUMENTHAL: Well, we're not going after them.
BECK: No, you were.
BLUMENTHAL: We're going after the bonuses.
BLUMENTHAL: Well, you know, again, these funds belong to us taxpayers
BLUMENTHAL: Well, you know, let's be clear on what's happening with the bonuses. These bonuses are actually increasing in amount. Going into next year, they will be $200 million...
BECK: Oh, my gosh. Is that against the law?
BLUMENTHAL: ... in bonuses.
BECK: Is that against the law?
BLUMENTHAL: Well, it is against public policy and it is unsanctioned by law...
BECK: Is that against the law?
BLUMENTHAL: It should be against the law.
BECK: Is it against the law?
BLUMENTHAL: It's against the public policy...
BECK: It is a yes or no question.
BLUMENTHAL: ... and against the taxpayers - in my view, it is unrequired...
BECK: Counselor, it is a yes or no question. Is it against the law? Yes or no.
BLUMENTHAL: It is not against the law and I have never said that it is against the law, and I have never said that we would take action.
It took a long time to get there, but Attorney General Blumenthal finally admitted that his whole crusade has nothing to do with the law. He may be a lawyer, but he's also a politician--this is little more than opportunistic grandstanding...seizing a moment for himself and his own career under the guise of serving the people of Connecticut. It stinks.
When people say they don't like lawyers, it's usually because they don't like how they twist things around, speak in circles and seemingly try to obscure the truth with "truthy-sounding" language. Mr. Blumenthal says he wants to go after "the bonuses" and not the people who received them...that what's happening with AIG "should be" against the law. Well, Heaven help us if they start coming after you because some guy thinks that something "should be" against the law! It doesn't work that way, at least not here in America (not yet anyway). Remember--they put Al Capone away for tax evasion, not murder. They used the law then, and it worked. It still does.
Do I think it's disgusting that AIG execs are getting millions of your dollars...of my dollars? Yes. Do I wish that wasn't happening? Yes. If there was legislation suggested that would help prevent something like this from happening again, would I support it? Yes. Do I want to break the law now and wrongly prosecute the rich because I'm angry? NO!
"Big Brother" doesn't get to decide how much money you "deserve"--that's between you and your employer. Honor the contracts and the law. The bottom line is that Attorney Generals enforce laws--they're not bullies who get to improvise, embellish or interpret them. We all have rights in this country--just as your Freedom of Speech exists to protect that speech that some who might not agree with, you're also have a freedom from wrongful and malicious prosecution from actions that some might not agree with (like the Attorney General of Connecticut).
If the law doesn't protect everybody, it can't protect anybody. Even I understand that...and I didn't even go to law school.