Hats off to Josh Marshall and the folks at left-leaning “Talking Points Memorandum” (TPM) for shining a light on what they believe is an injustice against Kevin A. Ring at the hands of the U.S. Justice Department. Federal prosecutors are maintaining that Ring, whom TPM describes as a “Jack Abramoff crony,” should face 17 to 22 years in prison for his part in the corruption. Such a sentence would “exceed the time served by all 20 other defendants in the conspiracy combined.” Abramoff himself — the GOP lobbiest at the heart of the corruption scandal — only served three years, six months. TPM is contending that the draconian sentence is improper retaliation against Ring for refusing to plead guilty. At a post-trial hearing, a judge described the 17 to 22 year sentence as “a pretty big penalty for exercising a constitutional right,” a characterization it’s hard to argue with.
Perhaps if the shoe were on the other foot, conservative commentators would rally around a Democrat facing analogous mistreatment at the hands of a Republican administration. I’d like to think so. But whether that’s true or not, it’s quite decent of TPM to be setting such a good example.