Rule No. 1 in the criminal-justice arena should be that you don’t get to plead guilty and still go on and on about how you were framed. Matt Kelty’s most ardent supporters have always wanted his legal problems to be about a Democratic-moderate Republican-media conspiracy to “get” Kelty because he had the audacity to challenge orthodox views. I hope they all especially pay attention to this paragraph in Kevin Leininger’s column:
Given the just-released damning e-mails between Kelty and key supporters, and Kelty’s own admission in court Monday – pleading guilty to misdemeanor false informing and two counts of felony filing a fraudulent campaign finance report – that he knowingly broke the law then lied about it, it’s time for those bracelets to come off – and for everyone involved to admit that this sorry episode was never about Matt Kelty or the issues he championed.
Certainly many of Kelty’s detractors were glad to see his problems and no doubt rejoice in this outcome. Maybe some in the Republican establishment even urged Kelty to come clean after the primary for reasons that are less than pure. But campaign finance law, whether you agree with it or not, is designed to provide transparency — so voters know who is supporting whom and can thus make informed decisions at the polls. The Kelty people knew this and, the record now clearly shows, deliberately set out to circumvent the intent of the law, for whatever reasons. That’s all this ever was and all it is now.
For what it’s worth, I never really believed Kelty wanted to be mayor or a representative even though he ran spirited campaigns for those offices. He is a movement conservative who wanted to hold office — any office — so he could advance that cause. As Leininger says, that cause will exist with or without any specific individual.