Proposed legislation seeks prosecution of all who lie to Congress ‘regardless of politics’

February 11, 2019

Proposed legislation seeks prosecution of all who lie to Congress ‘regardless of politics’ mark reinstein / Shutterstock.com

Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz (R) has introduced a bill that would make it a crime to lie to Congress regardless of political party.

The “Justice for All Act” aims to correct an apparent double standard in the justice system that privileges Democrats like James Comey and Hillary Clinton, who were never held accountable for lying to Congress even as Trump associates have been arrested and charged for the same offense.

“Unfortunately, it often seems that we have a two-tiered justice system at work; certain people have the book thrown at them, while others face no consequences at all for their behavior,” Gaetz said. “This is unfair and wrong, and I hope to correct this with my resolution.”

Do the crime, do the time

In a press release announcing the resolution last week, Gaetz’s office said that the legislation would “require equal punishment for those who lie to Congress regardless of politics, fame, or elections” and references the recent, military-style arrest of Roger Stone at his Florida home early on a Friday morning for five counts of lying to Congress as evidence of a double-standard against conservatives.

The resolution says that people are rarely prosecuted for lying to Congress, which only makes the charges against Stone and other Trump associates — and the leniency shown toward Democrats for the same charge — all the more conspicuous. The resolution says that Stone “is one of a very small number of people who have been arrested for the crime of lying to Congress” and that it has been “widely recognized” that “lying to Congress is a crime for which very few people have been prosecuted.”

The resolution will seek to establish “that it is the sense of the House of Representatives that the crime of lying to Congress, as defined in sections 1001, 1621, and 1623 of chapter 18, United States Code, must be prosecuted equitably, without regard to politics or elections.”

The resolution lists numerous Democrats who lied to Congress but who were let off the hook by a rigged system, including former secretary of state Hillary Clinton, former national intelligence director James Clapper, attorney general Eric Holder, former FBI director James Comey, former deputy FBI director Andrew McCabe, former CIA chief John Brennan, and former IRS official director Lois Lerner.

The resolution notes that the FBI and Inspector General’s Office determined that Clinton lied when she said that there was “nothing marked classified on my emails, either sent or received.” Gaetz also appeared in a video with the Daily Caller to promote the resolution in which Clinton’s testimony appears side-by-side with contradictory testimony from Comey, who said that Clinton’s statement was untrue.

Gaetz also criticizes Comey for saying that he never authorized leaks to the media despite the Inspector General’s Office concluding that he likely lied, Holder for lying to Congress about “Fast and Furious,” Lerner for lying about the IRS scandal targeting conservatives, Clapper for lying about mass collection of Americans’ data, and Brennan for lying about whether the infamous Christopher Steele dossier was ever used as the basis of a legal proceeding.

Double standard

Gaetz first announced the resolution in an appearance on Tucker Carlson Tonight on Feb. 1 to discuss the Stone raid, when he ripped special counsel Robert Mueller as a “glorified hall monitor” seeking petty charges against Trump associates for lying to Congress. Carlson and Gaetz agreed that people in Washington lie to Congress all the time, making the show of force against Stone suspiciously political.

In his video with the Daily CallerGatez again blasted Robert Mueller and his unequal application of the law.

“I don’t remember any circumstance where anyone’s ever been prosecuted for lying to Congress, and it would probably surprise most Americans because they’ve seen so many people lying in Congress for a political generation,” Gaetz said. Take a look:

Gaetz is a frequent critic of anti-Trump and anti-Republican bias in the top brass of the FBI and DOJ, which he and other Trump allies refer to as the “Deep State.” Trump and his allies have slammed the apparent double standard in the Justice Department’s decisions to stymie its investigation into Clinton while siccing the dogs on Trump and his associates with a “witch hunt” probe.

Now, Stone’s arrest for lying to Congress about his communications with WikiLeaks has renewed accusations of a double standard at play among those on the pro-Trump Right. Gaetz himself said that those with “Deep State” connections get off easy and that this double standard needs to end.

“If we are going to have laws that criminalize lying before Congress, we should at least apply those laws equally, and we shouldn’t allow people like Hillary Clinton and James Comey and James Clapper and Andrew McCabe to have one standard of justice because they’re tied to the Deep State while other people have a different standard of justice,” he said. “That’s not the America we live in.”

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Matthew Boose

Matthew Boose is a staff writer for Conservative Institute. He has a Bachelor's degree from Stony Brook University and has contributed to The Daily Caller and The Stony Brook Press.