Did Newt Gingrich really just break the law?

United States
December 8, 2011 6:37pm CST
Yesterday Newt Gingrich said that he would appoint John Bolton to be Sec. of State if he was elected. He made this statement to Republican Jewish Coalition which supported his future appointment. The problem is that it is illegal to do so under U.S. Code, Title 18, Part I, Chapter 29, Section 599. Although it isn't easy to prove that he broke this law, this certainly doesn't look good coming from a career politician like him. Do you think that Newt knew what he was doing and didn't care. Or, do you think that he didn't know it was illegal, and just made a simple statement? http://blogs.wsj.com/law/2011/12/08/gingrich-already-naming-his-cabinet-but-is-that-legal/
2 people like this
6 responses
@dark_joev (3043)
• United States
13 Dec 11
"Whoever, being a candidate, directly or indirectly promises or pledges the appointment, or the use of his influence or support for the appointment of any person to any public or private position or employment, for the purpose of procuring support in his candidacy shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than one year, or both; and if the violation was willful, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than two years, or both." To me the law doesn't ban the person from saying who they would appoint. It seems that this is a ban of a candidate saying if you support me I will nominate you or appoint you for the position. So it seems from at least my reading of the law that it isn't a crime to say who you are going to appoint to a position or who you are thinking of appointing. As long as you aren't doing it in a way that is of the nature to get that person to support you by offering an appointment. Just my thoughts on it. http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/usc_sec_18_00000599----000-.html where I got the law from.
1 person likes this
• United States
14 Dec 11
What Newt did actually does sound like he violated the law when you consider that he did this in front of a group of people that wanted him to show that he supported their cause, and he offered an appointment that this group approved of. The more you look at this, the more it looks like he used this possible appointment to sway a group of people. But, it will be interesting to see what happens.
1 person likes this
@dark_joev (3043)
• United States
17 Dec 11
Well from the wording of the law it seems to target only the person who you are appointing so if Newt Gingrich did something like this. If you endorse me I will appoint you to a cabinet position. That would be breaking the law otherwise no matter who he picked for a possible nomination or appointment would be against the law.
@Taskr36 (13928)
• United States
9 Dec 11
I'm truly shocked that this is the first time this has come up. I don't know if you remember, but both McCain and Obama were asked very specific questions about who they would appoint to certain cabinet positions in 2008 on national television. I can't remember whether it was one of the debates or that thing where the pastor asked them questions seperately. By the letter of the law one could argue that he broke the law, but precedent is certainly on his side. When asked who he would appoint as treasury secretary I believe Obama said Warren Buffett. Clearly that didn't happen so I see no reason to assume Newt would hold himself to what he's saying now if elected.
1 person likes this
• United States
10 Dec 11
As I said before, I can't find any proof of ANYONE being charge with this crime. I do remember what you were saying, but this may be different because of the group involved, but then you get into a very sticky area: Religion. I really don't think anyone wants to go down that road, but it does matter. Just ask Romney!!!!
1 person likes this
@anniepa (26441)
• United States
9 Dec 11
Well, if he did he can just say the only way to prevent crimes like the one he just committed from happening is to vote for Republicans. Remember when he said that regarding Susan Smith drowning her two little boys and then claiming they'd been car-jacked by a black man? Annie
1 person likes this
• United States
14 Dec 11
I do remember, and I am sure that he doesn't want anyone else to remember. But, his past will definitely hurt him in a campaign.
1 person likes this
@Rollo1 (16674)
• Boston, Massachusetts
9 Dec 11
I don't think Newt was promising an appointment TO John Bolton in exchange for HIS support. He was simply naming the people he would surround himself with if elected. John Bolton would be an eminently qualified nominee.
• United States
9 Dec 11
I don't know how you could prove that he did this to win an election, unless he did appoint him, than I guess you COULD say he did break the law, but then what? Do you impeach him? Because the act happened before he was president, but if he isn't elected then would he still have broke the law? I couldn't find any cases in recent history that show anyone ever being charged in a crime like this.
1 person likes this
@Rollo1 (16674)
• Boston, Massachusetts
9 Dec 11
I don't see how appointing him would be breaking the law. You have to prove he promised or pledged to appoint him in exchange for his support. I don't even know if John Bolton supports him, he may already or he may not. The law is really just one of many that make it illegal to exchange political favors for money or support. Blago did break a law by selling a Senate seat. Newt hasn't sold anything and there's no evidence to prove he intended to or tried to. Another question could be: Since we now know that many of the signatures on the documents that put Obama on the Indiana primary ballot were forged or otherwise fraudulent, was he ever really eligible to be on that state's primary ballot and if not, would he have been nominated or been elected President? I don't know of any current effort to impeach him or charge him with a crime, although the investigation is ongoing.
• United States
10 Dec 11
I think that his speech could be used as proof that he did break the law seeing how he told a group of people what they wanted to hear to get their vote. But, like I said I have never seen any record of this law being used to prosecute someone. I don't know anything about the Indian Obama connection. But, Indiana is now run by republicans, and they do have a long history of partisan politics.
@matersfish (6311)
• United States
9 Dec 11
As I was reading the first line of this in the Politics page to see what it was about, it took me about two minutes to realize that Newt wasn't trying to appoint Michael Bolton. I don't know where my brain's at today. I was seriously scratching my head and wondering why. As far as whether or not Newt knew, I have no clue. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GI6CfKcMhjY
• United States
14 Dec 11
I would have loved to see the look of these guys faces if he suggested he was going to appoint Michael Bolton. I wonder if Newt would make him grow his mullet back?
@aerous (13475)
• Philippines
16 Dec 11
He is a long running politician and I think he know about it and not just talking by mistake because he is ignorant of the law... He should stop talking irrelevant words to US people and the whole world that observe political arena in the United State... People outside the United State, has nothing to do with him. Like what he talk about the Palestinian, people which called them an invented people. Why he talk about it...just because he is the one that jews support his candidacy? All of us are created by God, and not invented by anyone. Who among us being the invented of anyone...I think that politician invented in what he talking about?