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Counsel's Report on Ed Meese

July 27, 1988

I find the reasons you have reported as being given by independent counsel James McKay for not prosecuting soon-to-be-former Atty. Gen. Edwin Meese to be most specious and unsatisfactory. To refuse to prosecute a miscreant merely because " . . . there did not seem to be any indication of personal gain . . . " is telling me that it is permissible to perpetrate any crime that I wish as long as I don't reap any personal gain.

According to this form of non-reasoning, I can murder or facilitate rape and pillaging by others, as long as I don't get anything out of it. I can pass along a bribe to Meese; I can tell others how to cheat, lie, and/or steal. I, whether or not I was in the public eye, can do everything with even the appearance of malfeasance because, unlike Caesar's wife, I don't have to be pure, nor do I have to set any example for the rest of the citizenry. After all, I didn't "appear" to gain from it--although my wife does have a $40,000 per year job that she wouldn't have gotten otherwise, but that's her gain, not mine?

As far as Caesar's wife is concerned, it is likely that Meese has never heard of her anyway since he, and his mentor/protector, have so obviously avoided those aspects of education designed to strengthen our sense of propriety and of justice.

One last set of questions: Why has McKay made this decision? Was he forced to do so by unseen powers? Is he really that naive as to believe a person such as Meese whose own closest co-workers could not abide to remain in proximity to him? If my wife obtained a $40,000 a year job, I would have gained from it, why hasn't Meese? How well paying a position must it be before it constitutes personal gain? When my friend gains from inappropriate actions by me, what is to prevent him from remunerating me lavishly at a later date--either directly, or indirectly by throwing business my way, or by, say, publishing 10,000 or 20,000 thousand copies of a meandering and pusillanimous autobiography and paying me an unheard of level of royalty, as happened recently for another politician. Gee, I wish I had friends in a position to do that for me; any volunteers?

JOEL FINKEL

Woodland Hills

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