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View Diary: Michele Bachmann's bitter, unpaid staffer: 'I witnessed a crime ... they covered up the crime.' (101 comments)

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  •  Obstruction of justice? (18+ / 0-)

    Wouldn't that make Michelle & the Bachman campaign's retaliation against employees for not signing the non-disclosure agreements by not paying them an obstruction of justice, since it's essentially trying to cover up a crime?

    ~ Nothing insightful to say ~

    by EagleOfFreedom on Mon Feb 11, 2013 at 11:22:44 AM PST

    •  The NDA couldn't (12+ / 0-)

      be enforced if the staffers were subpoenaed to testify.  

      If the consideration for the NDA is the money Bachmann already owes the staffers, there'd be no mutual forbearance so wouldn't be enforceable at all.

      Difficult, difficult, lemon difficult.

      by Loge on Mon Feb 11, 2013 at 11:34:33 AM PST

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      •  The NDA Is Not Enforcible, Regardless (8+ / 0-)

        In effect, it calls for perjury or obstruction of an investigation, both illegal. It is, therefore, not a valid contract.

        "Facts are meaningless. You could use facts to prove anything even remotely true." -- H. Simpson

        by midnight lurker on Mon Feb 11, 2013 at 12:40:57 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  i don't see how it calls for either (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          NancyWH

          it's certainly beyond what's reasonable to protect Bachmann's reputation, but as long as it's discussing voluntary cooperation, I wouldn't go as far as to think the obstruction is in the terms of the proposed NDA itself, as opposed to not paying people (and thus keeping them in hock to Bachmann).

          Difficult, difficult, lemon difficult.

          by Loge on Mon Feb 11, 2013 at 01:33:42 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  the question is not enforceability (10+ / 0-)

        but rather whether this attempt by Bachmann & co. constitutes actionable obstruction of justice. It is certainly attempted obstruction of justice.

        •  Yeah, that's what I was wondering (5+ / 0-)

          Even if the cause in the NDA was not enforcible, is the act of trying to get them to sign it part of an attempt to obstruct justice in a crime?

          ~ Nothing insightful to say ~

          by EagleOfFreedom on Mon Feb 11, 2013 at 01:07:39 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  well, enforceability (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          NancyWH

          is relevant to whether it actually has the effect of obstructing an investigation.  If it's futile, it's harder to see it as an attempt to do something that it wouldn't actually be able to do.  It also potentially gives Bachmann a way to back out of paying them.  

          These facts, standing alone, don't justify imposing a restriction on voluntary cooperation, but there are a number of possibilities.  One is simply that the limits on third party disclosure are just written very broadly and any exceptions just aren't spelled out.  I wouldn't put it past Bachmann to be obstreperous in contract drafting to further delay paying the money owed, or the possibility that the upset staffers are exaggerating.

          I can also imagine alternative situations where you have a particularly disgruntled employee, and you pay them fuck-off money to settle a nuisance claim and also insist that they not sic the regulators.  Wadron went to work for Bachmann in the first place, so he's likely not not a crank.

          Difficult, difficult, lemon difficult.

          by Loge on Mon Feb 11, 2013 at 01:40:13 PM PST

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          •  *any* attempt to obstruct justice (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            DocGonzo

            is always unenforceable because it requires someone to engage in a criminal act.

            •  right, but that's a circular argument (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              lostboyjim, mike101

              Bachmann might indeed be obstructing Justice, but the case can't be made on these facts.  And my point is that the agreement doesn't have to rise to the level of obstruction of justice for it to be unenforceable in certain circumstances, and as such, it won't do too much to get in the way of the truth (making it less likely to be an attempt to obstruct justice than paranoia on the part of a high strung hack politician).  Moreover, that's not even the best reason why the NDA might not be enforceable if the staffers were to sign it, which there's no indication they are.

              As long as the ex-staffers can say, "screw off, get a subpoena" to the FEC or whomever without breaking the law, I think Bachmann can legally ask for that.  The more disgruntled the employees are, the incentive to make even baseless complaints is higher, not that these are necessarily baseless complaints.  Just looking at it from the POV of someone drafting a separation agreement, at least the best case scenario.  I tend to think she's making unreasonable demands to keep from getting to the point where she'd lose the appearance of trying to negotiate, but in a criminal matter she gets the benefit of the doubt.

              I'm loath to delve into this further without seeing various drafts, but the whole obstruction angle mostly seems like a red herring when compared with the actual underlying campaign finance issues and the actual underlying not paying people.  (As ex-campaign staff, I take a very pro "pay the staffers" line.)

              Difficult, difficult, lemon difficult.

              by Loge on Mon Feb 11, 2013 at 02:56:51 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

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