October 28, 2005

Scooter Libby, Mob Lawyer

A depressing fact about being a lawyer is that innocent people make the worst clients, financially speaking. Say you rack up 1,000 hours saving an innocent man from prison, and then send him a bill for a quarter of a million dollars. How likely is he to pay? Well, from his perspective, his life has been nearly ruined, he's lost huge amounts of work, he's been put through hell, and now he's supposed to pay $250,000??? Not bloody likely.

On the other hand, say you spend a 1,000 hours saving a big time mobster from prison, and you send him a bill for $500,000. Will he pay? Sure. For him, it's a cost of doing business. It's a line item in his budget each year: Cost of Shysters.

So, all the monetary incentives are for lawyers to work for mobsters instead of innocent men. The only disincentive is that if you work for organized crime, respectable people don't want to associate with you. You've chosen your path in life, and foreclosed some options in return for the big bucks. For example, the mayor of Las Vegas is a mob lawyer, but that mostly shows the low moral standards of Las Vegas. In most cities, mob lawyers make a lot of money, but they are less likely to be given positions of honor and power in the city government.

Yet, from 1985 to 2000, the now-indicted Scooter Libby represented Marc Rich, one of the most notorious organized crime figures in the world, a man who, while on the lam from the U.S., systematically looted post-Soviet Russia and mentored many of the "oligarchs" in corrupt practices. When Libby's 15 years of work paid off with a pardon for Rich in the last hours of the Clinton Administration, after frantic entreaties for Rich by high figures in the Israeli government, opprobrium rightfully rained down on Bill Clinton's head. And yet, Libby immediately moved into the crucial position of chief-of-staff to Vice-President Cheney.

If Libby had spent the previous 15 years representing John Gotti, he couldn't have attained such a high position in the government. What is it about working for Marc Rich that made Libby largely immune to criticism?

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

1 comment:

zadośćuczynienie said...

interesting article