Editorial: What does a political prosecution look like? Ray Nutting!
What does a political prosecution look like? Depending on your perspective, it might look like a peace protester thrown in jail for marching in the street. Or an evangelical Christian convicted of trespassing at an abortion clinic. Even the impeachment of a president for lying about cheating on his wife.
It also could look like Ray Nutting. Though the conservative four-term El Dorado County supervisor and timber rancher probably wouldn’t enjoy the comparison, he is on trial for transgressions so common among elected officials that they are usually dispatched with a slap on the wrist and a fine.
Clearly, Nutting is guilty of bad paperwork. He admitted as much during several hours of testimony this week in which he outlined numerous errors he made while filling out the complicated financial disclosure forms. He makes a credible case that these were “honest” mistakes. This doesn’t excuse him of anything, but even with his bad judgment thrown in, the alleged misdeeds don’t rise to the level of a three-week trial and possibility of jail time.
For comparative purposes, consider that Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson was fined $1,000 earlier this year by the Fair Political Practices Commission for failing to report travel expenses, and fined $37,500 in 2012 for not reporting thousands of dollars in donations he sought on behalf of nonprofits. Those fines were appropriate for their individual severity.
Elected officials failing to properly fill out their disclosure forms is quite usual. Pierson, too, appears to have fumbled his financial reporting documents. He received a warning letter from the FPPC that said he violated campaign disclosure provisions, the Mountain Democrat reported in April.
If the DA’s real mission with this prosecution is exposing Nutting as a “hypocrite” – as he put it in court documents ... But being a hypocrite isn’t a crime.
... One would hope the jurors see through the political fog emanating from this case and return a verdict commensurate with the transgression.
Read Full Story Here: http://www.sacbee.com/2014/05/09/6390442/editorial-political-prosecution.html