The punishment fit the crime

Here’s something that’s by-the-books, letter of the law… but makes absolutely not a bit of sense.

Our dogged hero of law enforcement, Eternal General BIll Sorrell, is in hot pursuit of the scoundrel Dean Corren for a campaign violation. Seems the Democratic Party sent an email blast supporting Corren’s candidacy for Lieutenant Governor, and Sorrell deems this a violation of the public financing law.

Estimated value of the blast: $255.

The penalty Sorrell seeks: $72,000.

Sorrell says, and I understand, that he is simply following the law. which requires repayment of public funds still in Corren’s kitty at the time of the violation, plus a $10,000 fine for each of two violations (accepting the email, and failing to report it).

But holy Hell, I don’t care what the law says. $72,000 for a $255 violation is like a ten-year sentence for a speeding ticket. Does Sorrell have no flexibility whatsoever, or is he choosing to be a right bastard about this?

Also, this: I know for a fact that there was an ongoing, vigorous discussion within Democratic Party circles and the Corren campaign over what the party could do and couldn’t do on his behalf. The Democrats were very careful about it — so much so, that some liberals (including yours truly) wondered if they really wanted him to succeed. It’s hard for me to imagine that the Dems suddenly abandoned their caution in a spasm of Corren-love and sent out that email in a moment of blind passion, followed by headaches and regret the next morning.

Maybe so, because the Dems have responded to Sorrell’s onslaught like an abashed libertine trying to reform:

“To avoid the cost of litigation and move forward, both for the benefit of the Party and the State, the VDP decided to settle with the Attorney General’s Office,” the statement said.

As part of the settlement, VDP will agree to cooperate with Sorrell’s office in its investigation and litigation against Corren.

That’s nice. I’m sure it only appears that the Dems are throwing Corren under the bus.

Given the party’s SOP in dealing with Corren, I’m sure the email blast had to have been vetted by its legal staff. But that won’t do Corren any good now; he’s facing Mr. Prosecutor all by his lonesome.

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