Rosie O’Donnell’s complete meltdown over the passage of the GOP tax bill has landed her in some hot water, with “hot” being an understatement. She could be spending time in the slammer over it.
Before the bill was approved, O’Donnell took to Twitter and attempted to bribe Senators Susan Collins and Jeff Flake with $2 million IF they voted no on the GOP tax bill.
“DM me susan [sic] DM me jeff [sic],” tweeted O’Donnell, adding that she wasn’t kidding.
As Carl Arbogast here at RedState highlighted, O’Donnell broke federal law by attempting to bribe politicians.
Just to be certain that was her intent, O’Donnell doubled down.
it is obvious there is a price
corker had one
he crawled out backwards
2 million to any GOP senator
who votes no
on KILLING AMERICANS
MILLIONS WITH OUT HEALTH CARE
MY GOD HAVE WE NO SO
— ROSIE (@Rosie) December 20, 2017
Apparently, we do not have a so, because the GOP bill went through anyway.
The Daily Caller went a little further to see what O’Donnell could have garnered in terms of punishment for herself, and it’s not looking good for her:
18 U.S. Code § 201 criminalizes the attempted bribery of federal officials by whoever “directly or indirectly, corruptly gives, offers or promises anything of value to any public official … with intent to influence any official act.”
The penalty? For Rosie, she could spend up to 15 years in jail, suffer a lifetime ban from elective office and pay up to a cool $12 million:
The statute calls for a fine of “not more than three times the monetary equivalent of the thing of value, whichever is greater, or imprisoned for not more than fifteen years, or both, and may be disqualified from holding any office of honor, trust, or profit under the United States.”
While it’d be simple for O’Donnell and her lawyers to write the tweets off as a joke, she hasn’t yet backed down from them. In fact, she’s justified it by retweeting people saying this is how the NRA, Russians, and lobbyists do it anyway.
But there’s a difference. Lobbyists are required to document everything they do after they register with the Secretary of the Senate. Bribes are backroom deals with no oversight. It’s why one is highly illegal, and the other is not, no matter how we dislike it. It’s all about visibility and accountability.
While O’Donnell is technically right, she’s also very wrong, as Investopedia highlights the difference best:
Calling to further scrutiny is also the role of the politicians who seek contributions to vote for a policy or the average bribe taker. Senators also aggressively seek contributions for their campaigns and often request lobbyists to arrange for fundraisers. It is a symbiotic relationship. This is true of the bribe taker and bribe giver relationship as well.
The issue of lobbying vs. bribery can be discussed on finer points. While it is true that lobbying can be used to influence political opinion for human rights, it seems to be used more often than not by powerful organizations to suit their organizational interests at any costs. Bribery seems to have no morally redeeming features at all. It is a direct sale of power for individual gain.
O’Donnell was stepping into a door with what were good intentions, but was opening a Pandora’s box we keep closed by law.
Likely nothing will happen as no politicians would be dumb enough to openly accept such an offer, but O’Donnell did break federal law. If Trump were to choose to launch an investigation into Rosie’s actions to make an example of her, he’d have every right to do so.