The Tea Party and RICO - Page 2
Originally written to go after the Mafia in 1970, Congress passed the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act [Title 18, United States Code, Sections 1961-1968]. However, RICO is almost never applied to the Mafia today. RICO is applied to individuals and businesses. In addition to criminal claims, Section 1964(c) of the RICO Act allows civil claims to be brought by any person injured by reason of a RICO violation. Tea Party members of Congress are not immune.
Their behavior looks like that of racketeers. As such they could be seen as an ongoing criminal organization subject to RICO that provides for extended criminal penalties and a civil cause of action that focuses specifically on racketeering. RICO allows for the leaders of a syndicate, such as the Tea Party appears to be, to be tried for the alleged crimes which they ordered and assisted. Violations of the RICO laws can be alleged in civil lawsuit cases. It is important to bear in mind that a RICO-related charge focuses on patterns of behavior as opposed to criminal acts. Additionally, a civil RICO action can be filed in state or federal court. Both the federal and civil components allow for the recovery of triple the amount of actual and compensatory damages.
Look at the provision for private parties to sue. For example, stock holders whose stocks lost value can be considered as a "person damaged in his business or property." They can sue one or more "racketeers", Tea Party members. As plaintiffs, the stock holders, including people with 401(k)s must prove the existence of an "enterprise", that they are victims of the racketeers. What needs to be shown is that the defendants conducted or participated in the affairs of the enterprise "through" the pattern of racketeering activity.
The crimes punishable under the RICO Act alleged here are securities fraud, obstruction of justice and extortion.
Tea Party members committed securities fraud in several ways. They made and publicized misstatements on the financial report of United States and the US debt as elected public officials. That resulted in driving down stock prices. As a stock manipulation scheme, that allowed for insider trading. Those fraudulent schemes that have been perpetrated in the securities and commodities markets can ultimately have a devastating impact on the viability and operation of those markets at home and abroad, which is what Tea Party Representative Bachmann bragged about in Iowa.
Tea Party members have obstructed justice by interfering with the work of other government officials, such as the Secretary of the Treasury and members of the Securities and Exchange Commission. Obstruction can include crimes committed by elected officials. In this regard, they were aware that their actions could manipulate markets for the purpose of financial gain of others or themselves. It was obstruction of justice that the House used to impeach President Clinton and brought about President Nixon’s resignation from office.Continued on the next page