Really big racketeering frauds are hard to investigate, harder to understand and harder yet to prove. There are lots of working parts, no one's printed the manual and it's hard to find anyone to tell you what each bit looks like let alone how it all fits together.
Racketeering influenced corrupt organisations are combinations of people and incorporated bodies used by criminals who conspire to cheat and defraud. Cheating and defrauding boil down to obtaining a dishonest financial advantage by deception or misleading conduct. It's hard for fraudsters to find good help and it's increasingly difficult to get away with the big stuff for operations based only in the West.
In developing countries with big aid cash flows, there's intense competition for the mantle of most attractive destination for the corrupt. Every year The Corruption Index is put together by Transparency International. Just as the Royal and Ancient did for golf at St Andrews, Transparency International's scoring system picks the entrant with the lowest score as winner.
The TI corruption leader board could double as a list of Clinton Foundation operating locations. Add to that a focus on soft hearts, big dollars, exemption from taxation and friends in the highest of places and the case for a strong regulator is compelling, not just for the community but in the Clinton's interests as well.
But there is no regulator. There's no central repository of the corporate details of each piece of the network. And that makes the Clinton Foundation ripe with opportunity for crime.
Big thinking crooks are smart enough not to commit the true Objects of their criminal association to writing. There are no documents to be found in Google searches for roles and responsibilities or job titles for heads of global corrupt networks. Evidence is going to be widely dispersed, lots of it concealed or protected (in banking, tax, corporate regulator and other inaccessible locations) and most of it, in isolation will appear to be perfectly proper and innocent.
Investigators and journalists have to do the very hard, long and tedious hours of grunt work in digging the evidence out. In the early stages it's hard to know what's useful and what's not.
And forget about the Holy Grail.
Racketeering influenced corrupt organisation cases aren't proven by a smoking gun. There might be many "things that make you go hhmmmmm" but it's the course of conduct or overall sequence of events that ultimately convince juries about rackets and conspiracies.
In a complex course of conduct it's easy to provide a plausible explanation for isolated events. It's not until you can see each bit in the context of all of the evidence that a picture can properly develop. The united force of all of the circumstances put together is the crucial point.
Right now there are very few people alive who've seen the full Clinton picture. That's why enquiries now are so important.
Judge Isaacs delivered this often quoted common law precedent about the nature of conspiracy
‘Community of purpose may be proved by independent facts, but it need not be. If the other defendant is shown to be committing other acts, tending to the same end, then though primarily each set of acts is attributable to the person whose acts they are, and to him alone, there may be such a concurrence of time, character, direction and result as naturally to lead to the inference that these separate acts were the outcome of pre-concert, or some mutual contemporaneous engagement, or that they were themselves the manifestations of mutual consent to carry out a common purpose, thus forming as well as evidencing a combination to effect the one object towards which the separate acts are found to converge.’
I know from the hundreds of hours I've spent finding and reading documents in the Clinton matter that there aren't many traces of others having gone in for a look before. That's a great pity because complexity and concealment are the crooks best friend.
Hillary Clinton would be quite wrong to think that Jim Comey's investigation into any US Federal Offences disclosed by her use of a private email server is the end of the matter.
Jim may have given Ms Clinton the benefit of his heroic capacity for doubt, but in the context of a concealed private channel for the US Secretary of State to maintain communications facilitating payments and other unlawful benefits to fellow travellers, Comey's doubt may well be put to rest.
Wall Street Journal 7 September 2015
The FBI’s Blind Clinton Trust
Comey’s agents were forgiving about some incriminating evidence.
James Comey on August 30 in Washington, DC. PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES
Sept. 7, 2016 7:10 p.m. ET
The closer we look at the FBI’s investigative file on Hillary Clinton’s emails, the more we wonder if Director James Comey always intended to let her off the hook. The calculated release before the long Labor Day weekend suggests political favoritism, and the report shows the FBI didn’t pursue evidence of potential false statements, obstruction of justice and destruction of evidence.
Mr. Comey’s concessions start with his decision not to interview Mrs. Clinton until the end of his investigation, a mere three days before he announced his conclusions. Regular FBI practice is to get a subject on the record early then see if his story meshes with what agents find. In this case they accepted Mrs. Clinton’s I-don’t-recall defenses after the fact.
The notes also show the G-men never did grill Mrs. Clinton on her “intent” in setting up her server. Instead they bought her explanation that it was for personal convenience. This helped Mr. Comey avoid concluding that her purpose was to evade statutes like the Federal Records Act. Mr. Comey also told Congress that indicting her without criminal intent would pose a constitutional problem. But Congress has written many laws that don’t require criminal intent, and negligent homicide (for example) has never been unconstitutional.
The FBI notes also blow past evidence that Clinton advisers may have engaged in a cover-up. Consider page 10 of the FBI report: “Clinton’s immediate aides, to include [Huma] Abedin, [Cheryl] Mills, Jacob Sullivan, and [redacted] told the FBI they were unaware of the existence of the private server until after Clinton’s tenure at State or when it became public knowledge.”
That’s amazing given that Ms. Abedin had her own email account on the private server. It is also contradicted by page 3: “At the recommendation of Huma Abedin, Clinton’s long-time aide and later Deputy Chief of Staff at State, in or around fall 2008, [ Bill Clintonaide Justin] Cooper contacted Bryan Pagliano . . . to build the new server system and to assist Cooper with the administration of the new server system.”
The FBI must also have ignored two emails referred to by the State Inspector General showing Ms. Mills and Ms. Abedin discussing the server while they worked at State: “hrc email coming back—is server okay?” Ms. Mills asked Ms. Abedin and Mr. Cooper in a Feb. 27, 2010 email.
“I had to shut down the server,” wrote Mr. Cooper to Ms. Abedin on Jan. 9, 2011, noting that “someone was trying to hack us.” In an Aug. 30, 2011 email released through a lawsuit, State Department Executive Secretary Stephen Mull informs Ms. Mills, Ms. Abedin and others that he believed Mrs. Clinton’s current Blackberry was malfunctioning “possibly because of [sic] her personal email server is down.”
Ms. Mills has a particular reason for denying early knowledge of the server: She became Mrs. Clinton’s personal lawyer after they both left State. If Ms. Mills knew about the server while at State, she’d be subject to questions about the server. But if she didn’t know about the server until leaving State, she can argue that conversations with Mrs. Clinton are protected by attorney-client privilege. The FBI ignored all this, and it even allowed Ms. Mills to accompany Mrs. Clinton to her FBI interview as Mrs. Clinton’s lawyer.
There’s more the G-men ignored. Starting on page 18, the FBI notes that on March 2, 2015, the New York Times broke the news about Mrs. Clinton’s private server. On March 4, 2015, the House Select Committee on Benghazi issued a subpoena for Mrs. Clinton to produce emails from clintonemail.com. The FBI notes that in the days following the New York Times story, Ms. Mills “requested that PRN [Platte River Networks, the outside company then maintaining the Clinton technology] conduct a complete inventory of all equipment related to [the Clinton server]. And on March 25, PRN “held a conference call with President Clinton’s staff.”
A PRN employee then sometime “between March 25-31, 2015 deleted the Clinton archive mailbox from the PRN server.” The FBI reports that it had found a “PRN work ticket, which referenced a conference call among PRN, [Hillary attorney David] Kendall, and Mills on March 31, 2015.” The PRN employee was advised by an attorney “not to comment on the conversation with Kendall based upon the assertion of attorney-client privilege.”
The FBI report also suggests that the PRN employee initially told investigators he was unaware of the House preservation order, then later changed his story to say he was aware of the order and “the fact that it meant he should not disturb Clinton’s email data on the PRN server.”
What was said in those PRN conversations with Ms. Mills, Clinton aides and Mr. Kendall? Why the sudden Clinton rush to deal with a server that had been sitting quietly for so long? Usually, the FBI is keenly interested in any potential destruction of evidence—especially evidence under subpoena. Yet the FBI didn’t explore the details of the convenient archive deletions.
The FBI’s kid-glove treatment of Mrs. Clinton raises serious doubts about the seriousness of Mr. Comey’s probe. His July 5 public rebuke of her “extremely careless” handling of secrets has masked that Mrs. Clinton and her aides were given a pass on much of their behavior and dubious answers. The entire episode is another Jim Comey scar on the FBI’s reputation.