OP-ED: JUDGE KLENKOK'S MISCARRIAGE OF JUSTICE
SAN ANDREAS SUPERIOR COURT GIVES THE NOD ON CORRUPTION
BY KATHLEEN MCCONNELL | JULY 7, 2020
“The Stop Waste And Abuse by the Secretary Act of 2020 does not trump the rights and responsibilities give to the Secretary of State through the previous Constitution of the State of San Andreas,” Judge Klenkok ruled, suggesting that it’s legally acceptable to use government powers for any reason, effectively legalizing public corruption in San Andreas.
To any half-brained pre-law student, this would clearly be viewed as unethical and illegal. To his credit, Klenklok did acknowledge one truth.
"I believe the acts committed by Ms. Cuevas were unethicial, and unbecoming of the seat," Klenklok said in his opening statement.
Unfortunately, Judge Klenkok could not grasp the concept that abuse of power is illegal, and let two corrupt politicians off the hook. His ruling will set a precedent that will allow future public servants to use their authorities, powers, and public resources for personal use. What Klenkok did not understand is that the issue of the case centered on the misuse of rights and responsibilities within the State Constitution, not whether the Secretary of State had authority to manage state property.
The facts are as follows. Sugely Cuevas was Secretary of State and had powers to control taxpayer properties. However, it was illegal for her to involve herself in matters where she had a financial interest. In addition, she could not expend funds with a significant business or personal interest. Going against the grain of the law, Cuevas opened private and exclusive access to government property for a bougie political fundraiser to her organization, the Frank Underhill Campaign, in which she was employed as senior advisor. What should have been a clear-cut case of abuse of power, became muddled in legal confusion.
Klenkok did away with legal precedents, norms, laws and common sense, allowing the two to walk scot-free. The fact is, employees of the executive branch should never exercise their position and authority when such action is motivated purely by personal and non-official reasons. This is the standard in the United States of America, and it’s obvious. It’s codified at the federal level, in every state, including San Andreas, and according to San Andreas legal precedent. Taking in other states by comparison, in the state of California alone, the State Auditor launched eight investigations in 2020 into misusing state resources - including land, buildings, facilities, equipment, supplies, vehicles, leave, and state-compensated time - for personal purposes.
This concept is so obvious even at a global scale that the issue of abuse of state resources in electoral politics is at the center of the mission of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption. The rule of law in San Andreas isn’t in line with the rest of the United States of America, or even within the West. You know it's gotten bad in this state when countries like Guatemala and Lebanon (which forbid using public utilities and governmental institutions for electoral events) have a better grasp of misuse of administrative resources and taxpayer funding than the San Andreas Superior Court.
No, instead, San Andreas mirrors something more like the oligarchy of Russia, "where the misuse of administrative resources was identified as one of the most important means by which the incumbent political parties and politicians maintained and consolidated power," according to electoral corruption expert Sinikukka Saari. The long-term harmful effects of the abuse of state resources on the rule of law are palpable when public employees, courts and security forces go above the law to act in the interest of a ruling party rather than the taxpayer. This should sound very familiar.
The misuse of state resources is a major corruptive force in the electoral process, as it introduces or exacerbates power inequalities and gives unfair electoral advantage to incumbents. Cuevas and Underhill’s abuses compromised the integrity of the election, and reduced public trust in the legitimacy of the process and its outcomes. To add insult to injury, they made no comments during the entirety of the case, refused to answer questions under oath, or open up about what happened to the press, and instead chose to plead the fifth.
The Defense’s arguments were weak, relied on technicalities, and even went so far as arguing that it was “in the interests of the public good, public justice” that Underhill misuse taxpayer resources to fundraise for his political campaign. It seems that Frank Underhill had a friend in Klenkok, the former Red County District Attorney.
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