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We can all snicker about Al Gore’s fantastic delusions about
inventing the Internet and his connections with the Love Canal and “Love
Story.” But the growing evidence of his personal corruption is not a
laughing matter.

I’m not sure which is more cynical — Gore making campaign finance
reform the centerpiece of his campaign or his iced tea defense (i.e.,
his statement to FBI investigators that he may have been in the bathroom
during discussions about illegal hard-money solicitations from the Oval
Office).

His assertion that he is particularly qualified to lead the charge
for reform because of his own campaign finance “mistakes” is as
laughable as a felon running for prosecutor on the theory that he is
intimately qualified in criminal matters.

Gore’s iced tea whopper takes me back to my brief stint as a criminal
lawyer early in my legal career. An appointed client, accused of
stealing a TV, protested that he had not stolen the television set the
police caught him carting down the street on a dolly at 3 o’clock in the
morning. He had just left his girlfriend’s house when a stranger
approached him on the dark street and made a gift to him of the TV. My
client would have been better off entering a plea than to try to sell that
tale to the jury. But so far, Al Gore has no reason to fear his
jury — the American people. He and Clinton have yet to pay for any of
their outrageous behavior, let alone their outrageous whoppers about
their outrageous behavior.

I admit I’m alarmed at how lightly we are treating Al Gore’s
corruption. We now know that there is no real remedy for gross
presidential misconduct by a Democratic president. Democratic
congressmen and senators constitute an absolute shield for their
miscreant presidents. And the electorate has no stomach for removing
felonious presidents from office. Elections are the only way to keep
misfits out of that office, so we better start paying attention during
the campaign season. And we better insist on character being a major
issue — for both congressional and presidential candidates.

The level of corruption pervading the entire Clinton/Gore
administration is staggering. After sitting on the allegations for over
a year, the Clinton/Gore Justice Department just opened an investigation
last week into whether e-mails from Gore’s office and other parts of the
White House were hidden from criminal and congressional investigators
who had subpoenaed them. Is it a coincidence that Justice was finally
motivated to act at the same time a congressional inquiry opened in this
matter?

How far will Gore go in straining our credulity? Consider:

  • He just unveiled a proposal to finance American elections
    with a public-private endowment fund after raising $2 million of soft
    money for the Democratic National Committee last week.

  • In an effort to establish credibility for his finance plan, he
    said, “I know firsthand what is wrong with the way we fund our political
    campaigns.” Yet, when pressed by FBI agents about his knowledge about
    the nuances of the law, such as the distinction between hard and soft
    money, Gore told them that while “he had been a candidate for 16 years,”
    the details of donations are “a science he did not involve himself in.”
    So does he have firsthand knowledge or not?

  • While taking up the reform mantle and proclaiming his own
    integrity, he staunchly defends his campaign coordinator Tony Coelho.
    Coelho is not only the original poster child for harvesting soft money,
    his career has been shrouded in charges of corruption. Though Coelho is
    currently the subject of a criminal investigation involving his
    activities while serving as U.S. commissioner general of Expo ’98 in
    Lisbon, Portugal, Gore says, “Tony Coelho is doing a terrific job day
    after day. He will continue to do a terrific job.”

  • The National Journal reports that “Gore was in such a hurry to
    announce that he was bringing Coelho aboard that he decided to go ahead
    without a routine background check; he instead relied on Coelho’s
    ‘nothing there’ assurances.”

  • Clinton and Gore ran in 1992 on a promise of “fixing” the
    campaign finance system, then egregiously exploited loopholes in the
    system and never seriously attempted reform.

Al Gore has even developed Bill Clinton’s insufferable habit of
rubbing our noses in his corruption and daring us to hold him
accountable. At Saturday night’s Gridiron Dinner, Gore, in a mocking
reference to the Buddhist temple event, quipped, “Oh, before I forget to
ask, this isn’t a fundraiser, is it? My antennae go up whenever I’m in a
room where everyone’s dressed the same.”

Very funny, Al. I agree. If you manage to get elected with this kind
of behavior, the joke is on us.

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