For a while, we thought Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY) was more interested in becoming the first Republican woman to be Speaker of the House and not being Donald Trump's running mate. Now we are less sure. She just filed an ethics complaint about Judge Arthur Engoron, who is presiding over Trump's civil trial, with the New York State Commission of Judicial Conduct. Stefanik has a degree in government from Harvard but is not a lawyer.
In her complaint, Stefanik said that Engoron is not giving Trump a fair trial in part because there are no victims as a result of his allegedly giving banks false information. Not being a lawyer, she apparently does not know that lots of crimes do not have victims. Suppose you run a red light and do not hurt anyone. Can you be fined for that? What about prostitution? If a man and a woman (or some other combination) decide to exchange sex for an agreed upon amount of money, where is the victim? What about someone who uses heroin? Who's the victim? Then there are vagrancy, gambling, trespassing, jaywalking, drinking alcohol in public, and quite a few other crimes with no specific victim.
The letter also goes after Engoron's clerk, who purportedly donated money to Democratic candidates. Since she is not a lawyer, Stefanik is apparently not aware that judges and clerks do not lose their constitutional rights to vote and donate to candidates when they join the judicial system. Stefanik also attacks the gag orders that the judge issued, telling Trump not to threaten the judge, the clerk, members of the court, and potential witnesses.
Former federal prosecutor Andrew Weismann called Stefanik's letter "irresponsible" and added "She knows better." He also said: "You can say he's missed evidence. But really? A complaint against him for doing his job? Beyond the pale."
This letter is going nowhere. Why did Stefanik write it? The only reason that makes sense to us is that she is interested in the veep slot, especially since she now knows that some of the other potential women have problems. She does have a toddler at home, but maybe she figures she can raise enough money by grifting Trump supporters to hire a babysitter while she is traveling the country campaigning. The only person who might care about her letter is Trump, and why would she have written it unless she wanted to get in his good graces for some reason? We can't think of any alternative other than angling for the #2 slot on the ticket. (V)