Talk About ‘The Appearance of Corruption’


Talk About ‘The Appearance of Corruption’

Anthony Kennedy and Donald Trump had a special relationship.

By Charles P. Pierce     June 29, 2018

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The more elderly of us who spend a lot of time frolicking with the delightful furry creatures of the Intertoobz are regularly amused by the strange idioms and lingo of this particular universe. For example:


“Wait. What?”

Or, more simply, “Wut?”

So let me begin by saying, “WTF? Wait. Wut?” From The New York Times:

“One person who knows both men remarked on the affinity between Mr. Trump and Justice Kennedy, which is not obvious at first glance. Justice Kennedy is bookish and abstract, while Mr. Trump is earthy and direct. But they had a connection, one Mr. Trump was quick to note in the moments after his first address to Congress in February 2017. As he made his way out of the chamber, Mr. Trump paused to chat with the justice. “Say hello to your boy,” Mr. Trump said. “Special guy.””

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And from the Times: “Mr. Trump was apparently referring to Justice Kennedy’s son, Justin. The younger Mr. Kennedy spent more than a decade at Deutsche Bank, eventually rising to become the bank’s global head of real estate capital markets, and he worked closely with Mr. Trump when he was a real estate developer, according to two people with knowledge of his role. During Mr. Kennedy’s tenure, Deutsche Bank became Mr. Trump’s most important lender, dispensing well over $1 billion in loans to him for the renovation and construction of skyscrapers in New York and Chicago at a time other mainstream banks were wary of doing business with him because of his troubled business history.”

Am I just naïve, or did I have a good reason for the way I just bounced my head off the wall?

In truth, though, this gives me the best reason I ever had to print again one of Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy’s greatest hits:

“We now conclude that independent expenditures, including those made by corporations, do not give rise to corruption or the appearance of corruption. …The fact that speakers [i.e., donors] may have influence over or access to elected officials does not mean that these officials are corrupt. … The appearance of influence or access, furthermore, will not cause the electorate to lose faith in our democracy.”

Of course, it won’t.

Say hello to your boy. I hear he’s a special guy.


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