Monday, May 27, 2019
Thursday, May 23, 2019
Crime and corruption are nothing new in Baltimore, as any viewer of The Wire can attest. But even for Maryland’s largest city, the April 2013 federal indictment charging 25 people with drug dealing, prostitution, and violence was a shocker: all of the alleged crimes occurred inside the city’s biggest jail. Worse, 13 of the accused were guards, who conspired with a violent prison gang to smuggle in contraband, ranging from cell phones to prescription pain pills. Female correctional officers took payoffs to have sex with gang members, including the gang leader, Tavon White, who fathered children with four guards. “This is my jail,” White declared in a January 2013 call, secretly recorded by the FBI. “I am dead serious. I make every final call . . . and nothing go past me, everything come to me.”
The lurid details drew national attention, embarrassing Governor Martin O’Malley, a Democrat with presidential ambitions, and causing a shakeup in the state correctional bureaucracy. Yet within Maryland, what really provoked an uproar was the federal authorities’ assertion that a three-year-old state law known as the Correctional Officers Bill of Rights (COBR) was partly to blame for the scandal. According to the indictment, the law’s procedural protections for guards facing administrative discipline tied supervisors’ hands so tightly that punishment was only a “very remote” possibility. An accompanying FBI affidavit noted that “the internal review process set up by COBR” was “ineffective as a deterrent to [correctional officers] smuggling contraband or getting sexually involved with . . . gang members.”
O’Malley, lawmakers of both parties, and the correctional officers’ union—the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME)—had all backed COBR. In the wake of the scandal, all insisted that federal authorities’ harsh view of the law was unfounded. But the story of the law is, if anything, more damning than the feds could say directly.
COBR was a recipe for trouble from the start. It grew out of an AFSCME campaign to defend correctional officers in western Maryland who, prior to the Baltimore scandal, had been punished for gross misconduct—not for sleeping with inmates or bringing them illegal drugs but for savagely beating them. The union portrayed that appropriate crackdown as a typical vendetta by state prison officials against hardworking C.O.s. Maryland’s politicians, eager to please AFSCME in an election year—but indifferent or oblivious to the facts—went along. Far from a triumph for fairness and due process, COBR was a case study in the distortion of state government by public-sector union power.
On March 9, 2008, an ambulance arrived at Washington County Hospital in Hagerstown, Maryland, 75 miles west of Baltimore. The patient inside was Kenneth Davis, an inmate at the nearby medium-security state prison, Roxbury Correctional Institution (RCI).
Davis looked as though he’d tried to go a few rounds with Mike Tyson: his eyes were purple and swollen shut; red welts bulged from his forehead. Doctors diagnosed facial fractures, a broken rib, and multiple cuts and bruises. Davis spent four days in the hospital, during which time a visitor from the prison staff failed to recognize him because his face was so badly disfigured.
As subsequent state and federal investigations showed, Davis had been viciously pummeled by guards inside RCI. True, the inmate wasn’t blameless; he had punched and pushed a correctional officer on March 8. But the payback that the C.O.’s brethren dished out was excessive by any measure. Over the course of 24 hours, Davis endured four separate beatings by officers from three different shifts. At one point, the guards took turns punching and kicking him while he was on the floor of a cell, unable to defend himself.
Maryland’s attorney general, Douglas Gansler, eventually charged nine RCI officers with assaulting Davis. State prosecutors persuaded two of them to plead guilty and testify against the rest. But juries in Hagerstown, drawn from a region heavily populated by C.O.s, their friends, and their families, wouldn’t convict. The Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division took over the case and eventually convicted 13 RCI officers, most of whom pled guilty in a Baltimore federal court to federal civil rights or obstruction-of-justice charges.
But in March 2008, those events lay in the future, as the perpetrators of the attack on Davis hastily wiped blood from the floor of his cell, destroyed surveillance video, and agreed to a cover story.
Despite this “wall of silence,” Gary Maynard, secretary of Maryland’s Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services, investigated the case and compiled what he called “very compelling evidence” of brutality. Within weeks, acting on the information, Maynard fired 18 RCI officers. “We cannot tolerate excessive force, just as we will not tolerate an officer being harmed,” declared Maynard, a seasoned correctional administrator who once ran Iowa’s prisons and whom O’Malley had brought in the previous year to help clean up Maryland’s troubled system.
AFSCME, however, rushed to the officers’ defense. With more than 30,000 members, AFSCME is Maryland’s largest and most powerful labor organization. It got started in Maryland in the early 1970s, first organizing state university workers and then branching out to other agencies. Its rise paralleled that of the left wing of the state Democratic Party. Once quite conservative, in keeping with the state’s historical Southern leanings, the party moved in a more liberal direction as power flowed to Baltimore’s African-Americans and to the upscale professionals, white and black, of the Washington suburbs. AFSCME backed liberal Democrat Parris Glendening’s 1994 campaign for governor; once in office, he reciprocated by helping state workers win collective bargaining rights (though the union didn’t get a mandatory dues law until 2009, under O’Malley).
Today, Maryland is nearly a one-party state. Democrats control the governor’s mansion; they outnumber Republicans by more than two-to-one in the House of Delegates (the state’s lower chamber) and three-to-one in the state senate. AFSCME, with its dues-fueled get-out-the-vote operation, is a pillar of the Democratic Party organization. And Maryland’s correctional officers have evolved into a crucial part of AFSCME, accounting for almost one-quarter of its total statewide membership.
Yet given their conservative cultural slant—many prisons are located in the state’s Republican-leaning western and southern sections—C.O.s aren’t an entirely comfortable fit for a “blue” union like AFSCME. Union leaders thus face extra pressure to deliver the goods to this constituency—and because the state’s fiscal woes had forced employees to accept pay freezes and furloughs, that pressure happened to be especially high at the time of the Kenneth Davis case. With pay increases hard to come by, standing up for accused C.O.s gave AFSCME an alternative way to prove its value, along with the value of its Democratic connections, to the rank and file.
Saying that it would appeal Maynard’s application of discipline in the Davis case, AFSCME blasted the state’s “cavalier conduct,” in the words of its spokesman, Joe Lawrence. “These mass firings, this conduct by the state, is not justified,” Lawrence said. “What we have seen so far of the state’s investigation is riddled with inconsistencies.”
Western Maryland politicians from both parties flocked to the AFSCME banner. About six weeks after the Davis incident, a Democratic state delegate, Kevin Kelly, promised to introduce a “bill of rights,” as he put it, for correctional officers in the next General Assembly session, beginning in January 2009. Kelly had met with C.O.s and AFSCME officials, who told him that Maynard had rushed to judgment, according to an Associated Press report.
But AFSCME and its supporters still had to wait for the results of the officers’ state-court assault trials in Hagerstown. After all, convictions on the brutality charges would undermine the union’s claims. In October 2009, though, a C.O.-friendly jury produced the last “not guilty” verdict, and AFSCME was free to push for the bill of rights. The timing favored the union: 2010 was an election year, and two key state politicians were facing reelection battles. The first was a Democrat, O’Malley, a longtime union ally needing its full support for his rematch with his Republican predecessor, Robert Ehrlich, Maryland’s governor from 2003 through 2007. The second was a Republican: state senator Donald Munson of Hagerstown, who faced a GOP primary challenge and was eager to go to bat for the correctional officers in his district.
Union lobbyists had no trouble persuading Munson to sponsor COBR, thus giving the bill a bipartisan veneer. Munson, who eventually lost his senate seat and is now on the Hagerstown city council, said that he was little more than a legislative conduit for the union officials, who actually drafted the bill. “I looked at it, read it, and thought it was fair,” he said. “Much of the work was done by lobbyists for the correctional officers. I was on the budget and tax committee . . . and simply didn’t have the time to put into it.”
Matters were more complex between AFSCME and the O’Malley administration. The union’s ostensible rationale for the bill of rights—that the state had railroaded C.O.s in the Davis case and in a series of similar incidents involving inmates at a facility in Cumberland—amounted to a rebuke of O’Malley’s own corrections chief, Maynard, who had meted out the discipline. O’Malley could not give the union what it wanted without undercutting Maynard. And Maynard was none too pleased by the COBR proposal, as three sources with knowledge of the bill’s drafting confirmed.
That’s not surprising: any veteran prison administrator would have instantly spotted the bill as an attack on management prerogatives. (Maynard declined to comment.) Prior to COBR, prison administrators had 30 days to investigate alleged disciplinary violations by C.O.s, determine guilt or innocence, and recommend punishment, up to and including firing. Correctional officers could appeal to an administrative law judge, whose ruling would be final. This was the process that enabled Maynard’s swift action in the Davis case. COBR, though, called for a new appeal board made up of three correctional officers, and they would have unreviewable power to overturn a prison administrator’s findings of guilt—as well as a more limited right to reduce punishment for those whose guilt they upheld.
Departing further from prior law, COBR required the state to keep paying accused officers throughout the appeal process—a strong incentive for officers to fight charges. The bill gave C.O.s the right to know the names of witnesses against them 20 days before an appeal board hearing, time that a crooked officer could use to organize witness intimidation. Given O’Malley’s obvious determination to back COBR, however, Maynard acquiesced, managing to negotiate one concession: extending the old law’s 30-day investigation period to 90 days, so that prison authorities would have more time to build a case. Ninety days was far less than the yearlong investigative period that state law prescribed for cases of alleged misconduct involving police officers. But it was something.
And prison administrators would need all the time they could get, since COBR layered on other new procedures that made investigations more costly and labor-intensive. Officers would get 24 hours’ notice before an interrogation—time to develop an alibi or coordinate testimony with others. They would not have to face interrogation unless and until a lawyer or union rep was available to accompany them. They would have to face only one interrogator at a time, who would be forbidden from “threatening” prosecution, transfer, dismissal, or disciplinary action.
With O’Malley and AFSCME in accord, the General Assembly took up COBR in early 2010, holding cursory committee hearings. Democratic committee chairmen in both houses had been told that the bill was the governor’s baby. “The governor’s office said, ‘Don’t worry, don’t make a fuss about it,’ ” a Democratic state senator said.
On March 23, 2010, the Senate Judicial Proceedings committee heard testimony for all of 30 minutes from an overwhelmingly pro-COBR witness list headed by Munson and AFSCME’s chief lobbyist. Though the lawmakers probably didn’t know it (because the witnesses spoke in vague terms), much of what they heard that day was a rehash of the union’s bogus complaints about how unfairly the state had treated officers accused of the Kenneth Davis assault and cover-up. Chris Duffy, a C.O. from Hagerstown, testified that officers needed a bill of rights to protect them against a repeat of the “incident” in Hagerstown “approximately 18 months ago,” in which many officers had been punished based on “limited evidence” and “nothing but mere hearsay.” C.O. Ron Lohr claimed that he’d “seen a lot of botched investigations and poor decision making by management in the disciplinary process.” His own son, also a C.O., had been “a victim of that flawed process,” he said. Lohr’s son Ryan would plead guilty in 2013 to federal obstruction-of-justice charges stemming from his role in the Davis case. In that plea, Ryan Lohr admitted that he had opened the door of Davis’s cell to let attackers in, and then helped clean up the crime scene and lied to state investigators.
Committee members occasionally lobbed softball questions that succeeded mainly in demonstrating their ignorance of the bill’s contents. They heard one dissenting voice: Tom Dewberry, the chief judge of Maryland’s administrative law courts. He warned that letting correctional officers appeal to a panel of their fellow C.O.s rather than to an impartial judge created an apparent conflict of interest, contrary to the purpose of an earlier reform law that had assigned state-employee disciplinary appeals to judges.
It was an obvious point, but both parties in the General Assembly basically ignored it. COBR passed the House of Delegates 140–0 and the Senate 44–2. The governor signed the bill on May 4, 2010. A grinning O’Malley, surrounded at the signing ceremony by legislators, C.O.s, and union officials—but not by Gary Maynard—graced the front page of the fall 2010 issue of the AFSCME Corrections United newsletter. “Relentless lobbying by AFSCME C.O.s, the open support of the O’Malley administration and the hard work of key legislators . . . helped the legislation pass,” the newsletter crowed.
In September, AFSCME announced its endorsement of O’Malley at a rally in Baltimore. A union press release noted: “AFSCME members will be engaged in phone banks and vigorous get-out-the-vote efforts on behalf of the O’Malley-Brown campaign through Election Day.” O’Malley won reelection, with 56 percent of the vote.
Maryland’s politicians never debated—or even, seemingly, considered—COBR’s possible impact on investigations of corrupt fraternization with inmates despite the fact that Maryland lockups were already notorious for gang-related corruption, long before the Baltimore scandal broke. The Baltimore City Paper had published 14 articles on the subject, starting almost a year before the General Assembly took up COBR.
The lawmakers’ cluelessness is clear from their acceptance of a COBR provision that defined prison administrators’ power to impose “emergency” suspensions in “the best interest of the inmates, the public and the correctional facility.” That authority could come in handy if a C.O. were, say, caught having sex with an inmate or smuggling in debit cards and cell phones. Yet the provision required that such suspensions come with pay—a big disincentive to imposing them. According to the bill, officers could be suspended without pay only if they faced felony charges; and in Maryland, smuggling cell phones and other contraband into prison is a misdemeanor.
The new appeal process discouraged effective discipline as well. As FBI special agent Sarah Lewis put it in an affidavit, Baltimore jail officials saw no point in pursuing cases, given the risk that the COBR appeal board would later overturn punishments for brother officers. In fact, for two years, the board in Baltimore included 26-year-old Riccole Hall, a correctional officer at the jail whom the feds would later indict for drug dealing, bribery, and money laundering. Instead of trying to suspend or fire corrupt officers, Special Agent Lewis observed, jail administrators would transfer them, often to the nearby Baltimore City Booking and Intake Center. “That’s why I got moved over there,” a C.O. at the intake center casually told a coconspirator in a phone conversation recorded by the FBI. “I got moved over there basically because I’m dirty.”
After the General Assembly vote, City Paper’s reporter Van Smith (whose streetwise stories offer a trove of information about the scandal) approached Munson, COBR’s sponsor, for comment about the risk that COBR could hinder investigations of gang-related corruption. “I’ve never thought of this measure in that context,” the senator replied. “If it doesn’t work, we’ll fix it in the future.”
Though COBR may have enabled the smuggling, violence, and sex at Baltimore’s jail, as the FBI suggested, it did not cause them. Gangs and gang-related corruption are old problems in Baltimore, with origins deep within the city’s crime- and poverty-ridden social structure. Even the 150-year-old jail’s labyrinthine architecture promotes misconduct: it’s honeycombed with dark corners in which to hatch drug deals, consummate illicit trysts—or stab snitches.
Nor is the Maryland Correctional Officers Bill of Rights the most restrictive such set of regulations in the United States. That distinction probably belongs to the rules that the California Correctional Peace Officers Association has imposed, via collective bargaining and legislative lobbying, in the Golden State. In California, C.O. witnesses in disciplinary cases have the right to union representation during questioning—a “right” they decline to exercise only at the risk of finding themselves labeled “rats” by their union brothers, according to sociologist Joshua Page’s 2011 book about prisons and the correctional officers’ union in California, The Toughest Beat. The same union rep may attend interrogations of both witnesses and the accused, an obvious risk to the integrity of an investigation.
In essence, though, Maryland’s COBR and the California rules do the same thing: they give correctional officers’ unions extra influence over employee discipline, a process in which the unions have a special interest. They do this in deference to union political power—and despite the public’s interest in a process that is as impartial as possible. Public institutions function best with clear lines of authority. That goes double for inherently hierarchical ones like prisons and jails. Yet by their very nature, laws like COBR blur lines of authority.
Some Maryland officials told me privately that the Baltimore jail’s supervisors only griped to the FBI about COBR to escape blame for their failure to maintain discipline. No doubt there is some truth to this. But it’s a strange defense of COBR, which gave the jailers an excuse in the first place. Without it, their accountability would be clearer.
The O’Malley administration tried to rebut criticism of COBR with statistics, noting that the number of Maryland C.O.s fired or forced to resign for corruption, fraternization, or contraband possession actually went up from 17 in 2011, COBR’s first year, to 33 in 2013. The administration, though, provided no data on these dismissals as a percentage of cases—or on how many more disciplinary actions might have proved successful if Maryland still operated under pre-COBR rules.
Nor do these numbers explain why O’Malley was in such a hurry to pass COBR. A former prosecutor and mayor of Baltimore, the governor has a better street-level understanding of law enforcement and corrections than most politicians do. In his first term, he made shaping up Maryland’s prisons a priority; among his first acts was to close the outmoded, violence-plagued House of Corrections in the town of Jessup. Indeed, O’Malley can claim credit for accepting the federal probe that ultimately rolled up the Baltimore jail gang.
All the more reason to be mystified that the governor danced so readily to AFSCME’s tune on COBR, implicitly undercutting his own corrections chief in the process—unless you consider the union’s political clout.
After the Baltimore jail scandal broke, O’Malley asked for a special commission of the General Assembly to consider reforms. The group’s report, issued last December, called for new training and technology to fight smuggling, as well as one adjustment to COBR: allowing prison administrators to suspend C.O.s accused of smuggling contraband without pay, even if that violation is not a felony. For his part, O’Malley embraced many of the recommendations; as of this writing, an O’Malley-backed bill that would allow the suspension without pay of suspected contraband smugglers is moving through the legislature.
Members of the reform commission said that AFSCME’s lobbying initially blocked consideration of a more substantial reform: extending the period during which a C.O. may be suspended pending investigation from 90 days to a year, as in investigations of police officers. The commission was supposed to debate that proposal at its final public meeting in December 2013, but members backed down under AFSCME pressure. The union packed the hearing with correctional officers dressed in bright green T-shirts bearing the union logo. State delegate John Cluster, a Republican, said that he approached another lawmaker after the meeting, asking his colleague why he’d abandoned his support for the reform: “AFSCME got to me,” the legislator replied.
In the end, the O’Malley administration backed a milder reform bill, which is probably on its way to passage. The 90-day limit on disciplinary investigations would remain—but it would not apply in cases of alleged C.O. criminal conduct, as long as it occurred during the course of an officer’s duties, took place within a prison or jail, or involved an inmate. This was a clear improvement over the previous status quo under COBR and would have helped confront much of the alleged wrongdoing in Baltimore. But it still gives Maryland prison supervisors less time to investigate C.O. infractions than police supervisors have to investigate those committed by cops. And it does not reach criminal activity by officers off-site or off-duty, which is where and when a lot of the gang-related activities by the Baltimore C.O.s took place.
Nevertheless, the bill had one thing going for it: AFSCME’s acquiescence. Embarrassed by the Baltimore disaster, the union had apparently “seen the handwriting on the wall,” as one state official said, and accepted the need to compromise. (The union declined my request for comment.)
Keeping watch over often-violent offenders is a hard job. Most correctional officers perform it honestly. They deserve decent pay and fair treatment. AFSCME has a point when it says that C.O.s face the risk of false accusations from the people they supervise—who are, by definition, criminals. The law should account for that risk, consistent with the rights of inmates and the interests of the general public. But legislating that balance is a delicate business, in which no special interest should exercise privileged influence over the people’s representatives. Undue influence is what AFSCME exercised in the passage of COBR—with the help of union political machinery, funded through dues deducted from tax-funded payrolls.
As Maryland’s elected officials revisit the COBR statute that they so hastily adopted four years ago, much more is at stake than who runs the state’s prisons. The real issue is who runs Maryland.
Saturday, May 18, 2019
Thumos (also commonly spelled thymos; Greek: θυμός) is a Greek word expressing the concept of "spiritedness" (as in "spirited stallion" or "spirited debate"). The word indicates a physical association with breath or blood and is also used to express the human desire for recognition.
thumos ("passion"), the emotional element in virtue of which we feel anger, fear, etc.;
In Homer's works, thumos was used to denote emotions, desire, or an internal urge. Thumos was a permanent possession of living man, to which his thinking and feeling belonged. When a Homeric hero is under emotional stress, he may externalize his thumos and converse with or scold it.
Megalothymia" refers to the need to be recognized as superior to others, while "isothymia" is the need to be recognized as merely equal to others. Both terms are neoclassical compounds, coined by Francis Fukuyama.
In his book The End of History and the Last Man, the author mentions "thymos" in relation to liberal democracy and recognition. He relates Socrates' ideas about Thymos and desire to how people want to be recognized within their government. Problems emerge when other people do not recognize another's Thymos, and therefore do not provide the justice that it requires. In order for people to exist in harmony, Fukuyama argues, isothymia rather than megalothymia must be used to satisfy the human need for recognition. Any system that creates political inequality is necessarily feeding the megalothymia of some members while denying it to others.
Fukuyama explains how Thymos relates to history with the example of anti-communism in relation to the Soviet Union, Eastern Europe, and China. He states, "We cannot understand the totality of the revolutionary phenomenon unless we appreciate the working of thymotic anger and the demand for recognition that accompanied communism's economic crisis."
Friday, May 17, 2019
“My frustration,” writes Peter Schweizer in his new book, “Secret Empires: How the American Political Class Hides Corruption and Enriches Family and Friends,” “is not that the solid reporting on Trump has been too tough, but that the reporting on the Obama administration has been way too soft or in some cases nonexistent.” The author of the 2016 sensation “Clinton Cash” says Trump and his children didn’t invent the blurring of government and business, and details a number of ethical violations on both sides of the political aisle. One example: the little-noticed private equity firm run by the sons of Democrats Joe Biden and John Kerry, as detailed in this exclusive first excerpt.
Joe Biden and John Kerry have been pillars of the Washington establishment for more than 30 years. Biden is one of the most popular politicians in our nation’s capital.
His demeanor, sense of humor, and even his friendly gaffes have allowed him to form close relationships with both Democrats and Republicans. His public image is built around his “Lunch Bucket Joe” persona. As he reminds the American people on regular occasions, he has little wealth to show for his career, despite having reached the vice presidency.
One of his closest political allies in Washington is former senator and former Secretary of State John Kerry. “Lunch Bucket Joe” he ain’t; Kerry is more patrician than earthy. But the two men became close while serving for several decades together in the US Senate. The two “often talked on matters of foreign policy,” says Jules Witcover in his Biden biography.
So their sons going into business together in June 2009 was not exactly a bolt out of the blue.
But with whom their sons cut lucrative deals while the elder two were steering the ship of state is more of a surprise.
What Hunter Biden, the son of America’s vice president, and Christopher Heinz, the stepson of the chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations (later to be secretary of state), were creating was an international private equity firm. It was anchored by the Heinz family alternative investment fund, Rosemont Capital. The new firm would be populated by political loyalists and positioned to strike profitable deals overseas with foreign governments and officials with whom the US government was negotiating.
Hunter Biden, Vice President Joe Biden’s youngest son, had gone through a series of jobs since graduating from Yale Law School in 1996, including the hedge-fund business.
By the summer of 2009, the 39-year-old Hunter joined forces with the son of another powerful figure in American politics, Chris Heinz. Senator John Heinz of Pennsylvania had tragically died in a 1991 airplane crash when Chris was 18. Chris, his brothers, and his mother inherited a large chunk of the family’s vast ketchup fortune, including a network of investment funds and a Pennsylvania estate, among other properties. In May 1995, his mother, Teresa, married Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts. That same year, Chris graduated from Yale, and then went on to get his MBA from Harvard Business School.
Joining them in the Rosemont venture was Devon Archer, a longtime Heinz and Kerry friend.
The three friends established a series of related LLCs. The trunk of the tree was Rosemont Capital, the alternative investment fund of the Heinz Family Office. Rosemont Farm is the name of the Heinz family’s 90-acre estate outside Fox Chapel, Pennsylvania.
The small fund grew quickly. According to an email revealed as part of a Securities and Exchange Commission investigation, Rosemont described themselves as “a $2.4 billion private equity firm co-owned by Hunter Biden and Chris Heinz,” with Devon Archer as “Managing Partner.”
The partners attached several branches to the Rosemont Capital trunk, including Rosemont Seneca Partners, LLC, Rosemont Seneca Technology Partners, and Rosemont Realty.
Of the various deals in which these Rosemont entities were involved, one of the largest and most troubling concerns was Rosemont Seneca Partners.
Rather than set up shop in New York City, the financial capital of the world, Rosemont Seneca leased space in Washington, DC. They occupied an all-brick building on Wisconsin Avenue, the main thoroughfare of exclusive Georgetown. Their offices would be less than a mile from John and Teresa Kerry’s 23-room Georgetown mansion, and just two miles from both Joe Biden’s office in the White House and his residence at the Naval Observatory.
Over the next seven years, as both Joe Biden and John Kerry negotiated sensitive and high-stakes deals with foreign governments, Rosemont entities secured a series of exclusive deals often with those same foreign governments.
Some of the deals they secured may remain hidden. These Rosemont entities are, after all, within a private equity firm and as such are not required to report or disclose their financial dealings publicly.
Some of their transactions are nevertheless traceable by investigating world capital markets. A troubling pattern emerges from this research, showing how profitable deals were struck with foreign governments on the heels of crucial diplomatic missions carried out by their powerful fathers. Often those foreign entities gained favorable policy actions from the United States government just as the sons were securing favorable financial deals from those same entities.
Nowhere is that more true than in their commercial dealings with Chinese government-backed enterprises.
Rosemont Seneca joined forces in doing business in China with another politically connected consultancy called the Thornton Group. The Massachusetts-based firm is headed by James Bulger, the nephew of the notorious mob hitman James “Whitey” Bulger. Whitey was the leader of the Winter Hill Gang, part of the South Boston mafia. Under indictment for 19 murders, he disappeared. He was later arrested, tried, and convicted.
James Bulger’s father, Whitey’s younger brother, Billy Bulger, serves on the board of directors of the Thornton Group. He was the longtime leader of the Massachusetts state Senate and, with their long overlap by state and by party, a political ally of Massachusetts Senator John Kerry.
Less than a year after opening Rosemont Seneca’s doors, Hunter Biden and Devon Archer were in China, having secured access at the highest levels. Thornton Group’s account of the meeting on their Chinese-language website was telling: Chinese executives “extended their warm welcome” to the “Thornton Group, with its US partner Rosemont Seneca chairman Hunter Biden (second son of the now Vice President Joe Biden).”
The purpose of the meetings was to “explore the possibility of commercial cooperation and opportunity.” Curiously, details about the meeting do not appear on their English-language website.
Also, according to the Thornton Group, the three Americans met with the largest and most powerful government fund leaders in China — even though Rosemont was both new and small.
The timing of this meeting was also curious. It occurred just hours before Hunter Biden’s father, the vice president, met with Chinese President Hu in Washington as part of the Nuclear Security Summit.
There was a second known meeting with many of the same Chinese financial titans in Taiwan in May 2011. For a small firm like Rosemont Seneca with no track record, it was an impressive level of access to China’s largest financial players. And it was just two weeks after Joe Biden had opened up the US-China strategic dialogue with Chinese officials in Washington.
On one of the first days of December 2013, Hunter Biden was jetting across the Pacific Ocean aboard Air Force Two with his father and daughter Finnegan. The vice president was heading to Asia on an extended official trip. Tensions in the region were on the rise.
The American delegation was visiting Japan, China, and South Korea. But it was the visit to China that had the most potential to generate conflict and controversy. The Obama administration had instituted the “Asia Pivot” in its international strategy, shifting attention away from Europe and toward Asia, where China was flexing its muscles.
For Hunter Biden, the trip coincided with a major deal that Rosemont Seneca was striking with the state-owned Bank of China. From his perspective, the timing couldn’t have been better.
Vice President Biden, Hunter Biden and Finnegan arrived to a red carpet and a delegation of Chinese officials. Greeted by Chinese children carrying flowers, the delegation was then whisked to a meeting with Vice President Li Yuanchao and talks with President Xi Jinping.
Hunter and Finnegan Biden joined the vice president for tea with US Ambassador Gary Locke at the Liu Xian Guan Teahouse in the Dongcheng District in Beijing. Where Hunter Biden spent the rest of his time on the trip remains largely a mystery. There are actually more reports of his daughter Finnegan’s activities than his.
What was not reported was the deal that Hunter was securing. Rosemont Seneca Partners had been negotiating an exclusive deal with Chinese officials, which they signed approximately 10 days after Hunter visited China with his father. The most powerful financial institution in China, the government’s Bank of China, was setting up a joint venture with Rosemont Seneca.
The Bank of China is an enormously powerful financial institution. But the Bank of China is very different from the Bank of America. The Bank of China is government-owned, which means that its role as a bank blurs into its role as a tool of the government. The Bank of China provides capital for “China’s economic statecraft,” as scholar James Reilly puts it. Bank loans and deals often occur within the context of a government goal.
Rosemont Seneca and the Bank of China created a $1 billion investment fund called Bohai Harvest RST (BHR), a name that reflected who was involved. Bohai (or Bo Hai), the innermost gulf of the Yellow Sea, was a reference to the Chinese stake in the company. The “RS” referred to Rosemont Seneca. The “T” was Thornton.
The fund enjoyed an unusual and special status in China. BHR touted its “unique Sino-US shareholding structure” and “the global resources and network” that allowed it to secure investment “opportunities.” Funds were backed by the Chinese government.
In short, the Chinese government was literally funding a business that it co-owned along with the sons of two of America’s most powerful decision makers.
The partnership between American princelings and the Chinese government was just a beginning. The actual investment deals that this partnership made were even more problematic. Many of them would have serious national security implications for the United States.
In 2015, BHR joined forces with the automotive subsidiary of the Chinese state-owned military aviation contractor Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) to buy American “dual-use” parts manufacturer Henniges.
AVIC is a major military contractor in China. It operates “under the direct control of the State Council” and produces a wide array of fighter and bomber aircraft, transports, and drones — primarily designed to compete with the United States.
The company also has a long history of stealing Western technology and applying it to military systems. The year before BHR joined with AVIC, the Wall Street Journal reported that the aviation company had stolen technologies related to the US F-35 stealth fighter and incorporated them in their own stealth fighter, the J-31. AVIC has also been accused of stealing US drone systems and using them to produce their own.
In September 2015, when AVIC bought 51 percent of American precision-parts manufacturer Henniges, the other 49 percent was purchased by the Biden-and-Kerry-linked BHR.
Henniges is recognized as a world leader in anti-vibration technologies in the automotive industry and for its precise, state-of-the-art manufacturing capabilities. Anti-vibration technologies are considered “dual-use” because they can have a military application, according to both the State Department and Department of Commerce.
The technology is also on the restricted Commerce Control List used by the federal government to limit the exports of certain technologies. For that reason, the Henniges deal would require the approval of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), which reviews sensitive business transactions that may have a national security implication.
According to BHR internal documents, the Henniges deal included “arduous and often-times challenging negotiations.” The CFIUS review in 2015 included representatives from numerous government agencies including John Kerry’s State Department.
The deal was approved in 2015.
Sunday, May 12, 2019
Friday, May 3, 2019
When the Mueller Report was released on April 18th, most commentators focused on the “explosive” factual allegations. But other than the shocking revelation that the President once used an expletive in private, very few of those facts were novel; most were leaked long ago.
At the end of Volume II of the Mueller Report, however, there were 20 pages of genuinely new material.
There, the former FBI director turned Special Counsel Robert Mueller defended his “Application of Obstruction-Of-Justice Statutes To The President.” These overlooked 20 pages were dedicated to defending Mueller’s interpretation of a single subsection of a single obstruction-of-justice statute: 18 U.S.C. § 1512(c)(2).
That’s quite strange, but you know what’s stranger still?
In June 2018, Bill Barr, then in private practice at Kirkland & Ellis, wrote a detailed legal memorandum to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. This memo came to light in December, when Barr was nominated for Attorney General.
The subject was Mueller’s interpretation of the aforementioned 18 U.S.C. § 1512(c)(2).
When Barr’s memo first appeared, prominent liberal legal commentators were perplexed. Georgetown Law professor Marty Lederman wrote at Just Security:“[T]he first huge and striking problem with Barr’s memo is that he unjustifiably makes countless assumptions about what Mueller is doing…From all that appears, Barr was simply conjuring from whole cloth a preposterously long set of assumptions about how Special Counsel Mueller was adopting extreme and unprecedented-within-DOJ views about every pertinent question and investigatory decision.”
At Lawfare, Mikhaila Fogel and Benjamin Wittes wrote:“[I]t is not an exaggeration to say that Barr’s entire memo is predicated on two broad assumptions: first, that he knows Mueller’s legal theory, and second, that he understands the fact pattern that Mueller is investigating… Neither assumption is, in our judgment, warranted. Unlike Barr, we don’t purport to know what Mueller’s obstruction theory is.”But now that we have the Mueller Report, things look very different.
DUELING BRIEFS – AND A THEORY
Reading Barr’s June 2018 memo alongside the last twenty pages of the Mueller Report is a curious experience.
Together, they read like dueling legal briefs on the meaning of 18 U.S.C. § 1512(c)(2); the type of material one would expect to see from adversarial appellate litigators.
So-why did Robert Mueller dedicate 20 pages of his report to a seemingly obscure question of statutory interpretation? Why did Bill Barr write a detailed legal memorandum to Rod Rosenstein about that very same statute?
And how, exactly, did Bill Barr know that that § 1512(c)(2) was central to Mueller’s obstruction theory – in June 2018, when he was still in private practice at Kirkland?
After some consideration, I arrived at a theory that I believe answers these three questions, and others as well. For example – why was AG Jeff Sessions asked for his resignation the day after the midterms? Why was Bill Barr the only name ever seriously floated for AG? And is it merely a coincidence that six weeks after Barr’s confirmation, the Mueller probe came to an end?
This theory is not entirely my own — I’m indebted to the work of the anonymous lawyer user going by Undercover Huber on Twitter (@JohnWHuber), and his detailed thread on the subject. But the story I’m about to tell does contain some novel theses, which are noted throughout.
This is a story about a legal chess match played for the highest stakes imaginable: Trump’s Presidency – and whether it would be under the cloud of an endless special counsel investigation – hinged on the result.
John Dowd, Ty Cobb, Jay Sekulow, and the rest of President Trump’s personal legal team were on one side. Mueller, Andrew Weissmann, and the Special Counsel’s office were on the other.
The dispute was a year-long struggle over the meaning of 18 U.S.C. § 1512(c)(2).
No judge ever ruled on who was right about the meaning of this obstruction statute. No formal decision was ever rendered.
All the same, Trump’s legal team prevailed on February 14, 2019.
That’s the day William Pelham Barr was confirmed as United States Attorney General.
FRAMING THE DISPUTE
So why, exactly, was the interpretation of 18 U.S.C. § 1512(c)(2) so contested?
Let’s start by looking the statute, excerpted here:(c) Whoever corruptly—Why was this so important to Mueller? Because most of the obstruction statutes couldn’t possibly apply to President Trump’s behavior, as they require that a defendant obstruct a “pending proceeding” before an agency or tribunal.
(1) alters, destroys, mutilates, or conceals a record, document, or other object, or attempts to do so, with the intent to impair the object’s integrity or availability for use in an official proceeding; or
(2) otherwise obstructs, influences or impedes any official proceeding, or attempts to do so [is guilty of the crime of obstruction]. (Emphasis added).
It is settled law that an FBI investigation does not constitute such a proceeding. But § 1512(c) applies to acts of obstruction done with the intent of impairing evidence for a future, potential proceeding. That made it potentially usable against the President.
Second – the language of subsection (c)(2), read in isolation, is *very* broad. Removing subsection (1), it reads like this:“Whoever corruptly… obstructs, influences, or impedes any official proceeding, or attempts to do so [is guilty of the crime of obstruction].”If taken to its extreme, it could be read to cover any act – no matter how lawful – that has the effect of impeding a federal investigation. That would include, for example, asking an FBI director to lay off an investigation, or firing an FBI director. The Mueller Report revealed that Mueller interpreted § 1512(c)(2) in just such a broad fashion.
Conversely, in Barr’s reading (as detailed in his June 2018 memo) subsection (c)(2) is a “residual clause” – a catch-all clause “most naturally understood to cover acts that cause a similar kind of result as the preceding listed examples, but cause those results in a different manner.” Because subsection (c)(1) deals with types of obstruction that impair evidence, Barr argues, subsection (c)(2) has to be read narrowly, as limited to obstructive acts “that impair the integrity or availability of evidence.”
Mueller firmly disagreed: in the Mueller Report, he addressed this argument specifically, boldly asserting that nothing in the text of subsection (c)(2) “limits the provision to acts that would impair the integrity or availability of evidence in an official proceeding.”
This is a very truncated explanation of the legal debate, which covers technical issues of statutory interpretation, as well as constitutional questions about the separation of powers. If you are interested in going deep into the legal minutia, I would highly recommend reading the full Barr memo, which is excellent legal work.
For our purposes, it is enough to understand this:
Mueller adopted an expansive, acontextual, and constitutionally questionable interpretation of § 1512(c)(2) and used it to justify an extensive investigation into potential obstruction of justice by President Trump.
Barr’s interpretation of § 1512(c)(2) – which was far more textually and constitutionally sound – would have made it almost impossible for Mueller to justify investigating Trump for obstruction of justice.
Let’s begin the story.
THE GAME BEGINS: MUELLER PIVOTS TO OBSTRUCTION
Very shortly after the Mueller investigation began, Trump’s lawyers were alert to the possibility that Mueller might investigate obstruction by the President.
On June 23, 2017, Sekulow and Dowd wrote their first of many letters to the Special Counsel’s office arguing that those statutes could not be lawfully applied to the President. They might have been confident that their arguments were working, at first; Cobb went so far as to predict the investigation would be over by Thanksgiving.
In hindsight, this was optimistic.
Perhaps Trump’s legal team had reviewed the evidence, realized there was no collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, and believed that Mueller would come to the same conclusion, quickly. But in January 2018, it must have become abundantly clear to the Trump legal team that things were not going well.
On January 8, 2018, the Mueller team requested an interview with President Trump about a wide array of subjects, including “[t]he President’s awareness of and reaction to investigations by the FBI, the House, and the Senate into possible collusion,” “[t]he President’s reaction to Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ recusal from the investigation,” and “[w]hether or not [James] Comey’s May 3, 2017 testimony led to his termination.”
These questions were tells.
None of these questions related to possible collusion by the Trump campaign with the Russian government. They were all clearly targeted at potential obstruction by the President. And President Trump’s legal team knew it.
On January 29, 2018, Dowd and Sekulow fired back with a confidential letter to the Special Counsel (that was later leaked to the New York Times). In it, they declined Mueller’s request for an interview, and pushed back on a potential obstruction theory. In particular, they suggested that 18 U.S.C. § 1505 was inapplicable to the President, because there was no “pending proceeding” against him.
But, as we now know from the Mueller Report, Mueller wasn’t relying on § 1505. Instead, he was relying on the more broadly worded § 1512(c)(2), which covers the obstruction of *potential future* proceedings, not just proceedings that are already ongoing. Mueller and his team likely clarified this point to Dowd and Sekulow, who just a week later wrote another letter to the Special Counsel, arguing that § 1512(c)(2) did not cover the President’s actions as a matter of law.
Clearly, though, Mueller was undeterred by the Trump team’s legal argument. And why would he be? This was not a lawsuit or a criminal proceeding. It was an investigation. Dowd and Sekulow couldn’t go in front of a judge and demand the investigation be stopped; no judge had jurisdiction.
But if Trump’s legal team couldn’t persuade Mueller to let go of his obstruction theory, the investigation could go on indefinitely. Any act that could be characterized as “impeding” the Russia probe – even the exercise of core Article II powers or Trump’s complaints about Mueller – could conceivably be investigated as potential obstruction of justice. Rather than ending by Thanksgiving 2017, the Mueller investigation could continue through Trump’s first term – and perhaps longer.
Dowd and Sekulow needed to come up with an answer.
And that’s why I think they turned to Bill Barr.
On June 8, 2018, Bill Barr wrote a detailed memorandum to Rod Rosenstein about what he believed was Mueller’s interpretation of 18 U.S.C. § 1512(c)(2). While Barr professed to be “in the dark about many facts,” in light of the Mueller Report, it’s clear he knew *exactly* what Mueller was up to.
There are other interesting things to note about this memorandum.
First, it’s addressed to Rod Rosenstein and Steve Engel – not to Mueller, Weissmann, or the Special Counsel’s office, which were running the Trump investigation. In that respect, it’s distinct from the Trump team’s prior letters, which were sent directly to Mueller.
Second, it is a thorough legal argument, taking up some 19 pages of single-spaced text, and full of citations to relevant authority. This memo is not an off-hand missive, sent to Rosenstein on a whim. This is serious, robust legal work product; it bears the hallmarks of having one or two bright Kirkland & Ellis associates helping Barr research and draft the memorandum.
Now, it’s possible that Barr simply heard some extremely accurate scuttlebutt from some old DOJ pals about the exact statute Mueller was relying on to investigate obstruction of justice. It’s also possible that he was so incensed that he decided, on his own initiative, to draft a very thorough memorandum to Rod Rosenstein about his concerns, appropriating some expensive Kirkland associates for the task.
But that’s improbable. A more likely explanation (and my first novel thesis) is that Trump’s legal team sought out Bill Barr, gave him inside information about Mueller and Weissmann’s interpretation of § 1512(c)(2), and asked him to write the memorandum to Rosenstein.
Why would Trump’s lawyers want Barr to do this?
Because their efforts to dissuade Mueller from pursuing obstruction using § 1512(c)(2) had failed.
Going over Mueller’s head to Rosenstein was the obvious move. If they could persuade Rosenstein that the legal theory underlying the entire obstruction investigation was unsound, Rosenstein might finally clamp down on Mueller, and the probe might come to an end.
Well, he was a former AG, with all the prestige that entails. He had previously written an op-ed about why Trump was justified in firing James Comey, so Trump’s legal team must have suspected he was inclined to agree with their legal position. And finally, Barr was AG from 1991-1993 – just after Rosenstein began his career as a line attorney at DOJ.
If Trump’s team were looking for someone with the prestige and gravitas to persuade Rod Rosenstein, they couldn’t have found anyone better than Bill Barr.
This theory also explains why the memorandum is so thorough.
If Barr had written it on his own initiative, he might have had trouble wrangling associates to help him with the research and drafting, and the memorandum might not have been as robust. But if he was put up to it by Trump’s legal team, he would have had no trouble appropriating Kirkland associates for the task.
Whether or not this theory about the impetus for Barr’s memo is right, the memo itself ultimately did not have the desired effect. Rosenstein did not intervene in the Mueller investigation. Trump’s presidency would continue to operate under a cloud of uncertainty. And his legal team would need to find another way to rein Mueller in.
REMEMBER, REMEMBER THE 9TH OF NOVEMBER…
The day after the midterms, Jeff Sessions was asked for his resignation. Less than a month later, Bill Barr was nominated as his replacement. Everyone talked about how he was the “consensus choice” in the administration. No other candidate was ever seriously floated.
That leads to my second novel thesis: After it became clear that Rosenstein was not persuaded by the Barr memorandum, Dowd and Sekulow persuaded President Trump to fire Sessions and make Barr the Attorney General.
Why fire Sessions? As discussed, it was on Trump’s lawyers to solve the problem posed by Mueller’s interpretation of § 1512(c)(2). One can’t imagine they were too happy in July 2018, having realized that they had no means of stopping this investigation, save for one.
The problem for Trump’s lawyers is that Rosenstein had either adopted Mueller’s obstruction theory, or was letting him run wild with it despite his reservations. But who decides what the Department of Justice’s position on the proper interpretation of a criminal statute is? Usually, the attorney general would decide. In this case, however, it was the Deputy Attorney General, since Sessions was recused.
But what if Sessions wasn’t the Attorney General?
The timeframe is key here. The Barr Memorandum was written on June 8, 2018. It probably wouldn’t have been obvious to Barr or Trump’s lawyers that their effort to persuade Rosenstein had failed until July.
And Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement in late June.
If Trump’s legal team thought that Sessions needed to go, they probably would have been reluctant to advise Trump to fire him right away, with a bruising Supreme Court confirmation battle coming up, followed by the midterm elections.
Instead, one suspects that Trump and his team decided focus on getting their Supreme Court Justice confirmed, and to hold off on firing Sessions until after the midterms, assuming they still had control of the Senate (a likely outcome given the terrible map for Democrats).
Barr was eminently confirmable, a former Attorney General, and well-respected by the Republican establishment.
But more importantly, Trump’s legal team knew that Barr agreed with them on the meaning of § 1512(c)(2). Thus, in a perfectly lawful, legitimate manner, Barr’s confirmation would change the Department of Justice’s official view on the interpretation of § 1512(c)(2) – and thus undermine Mueller’s obstruction investigation.
When the June 2018 Barr memorandum became public in December, many Democrats tried to weaponize it against him. But because Barr’s memo was specific to a particular statute, and was perfectly defensible legal analysis, it was hard for the Democrats to get any traction.
In hindsight, however, it’s clear that Barr was the assassin Democrats feared.
Within six weeks of his confirmation, the Mueller probe was over.
When Mueller equivocated on obstruction in his report, Barr affirmatively determined that there was no viable obstruction charge. In a twist, Barr didn’t rely on a narrow reading of § 1512(c)(2); instead, he exploited the malleability of Mueller’s theory and determined that Trump lacked the requisite intent to commit obstruction.
At the same time, he made clear during the press conference that he didn’t agree with Mueller’s legal theories; one has to suspect he was referring to the debate over § 1512(c)(2).
In any event, Mueller and Weissman had lost the chess match. Trump and his team had won.
No Collusion. No Obstruction. No more Mueller Investigation.
Wednesday, May 1, 2019
"All we know therefore of Tamanend is that he was an ancient Delaware Chief, who never had his equal. He was in the highest degree endowed with wisdom, virtue, prudence, charity, affability, meekness, hospitality, in short with every good and noble qualification that a human being possesses. He was supposed to have had an intercourse with the Great Spirit, for he was a stranger to every thing that is bad."-Rev. John Heckewelder.
Penna. Evening Post, Tuesday, April 30, 1776.:
"Tune, The hounds are all out &c.
"Of St. George or St. Bute, let the poet laureat sing,
Of Pharaoh or Pluto of old,
While he rimes forth their praise, in false flattering lays,
I'll sing of St. Tamm'ny the bold, my brave boys.
Let Hibernia's sons boast, make Patrick their toast,
And Scots Andrew's fame spread abroad,
Potatoes and oates and Welch Leeks, for Welch goats,
Was never St. Tammany's food, my brave boys.
In freedom's bright cause, Tammany pled with applause,
And reason'd most justly from nature;
For this, this was his song, all, all the day long,
Liberty's the right of each creature, brave boys.
Whilst under an oak his great parliament sat,
His throne was the crotch of the tree,
With Solomon's look, without statutes or book,
He wisely sent forth his decree, my brave boys.
His subjects stood round, not the least noise or sound,
Whilst freedom blaz'd full in each face;
So plain were the laws, and each pleaded his cause,
That might Bute, North and Mansfield disgrace, my brave boys.
No duties nor stamps, their blest liberty cramps,
A King, tho' no tyrant was he;
He did oft' times declare, nay sometimes would swear,
The least of his subjects were free, my brave boys.
He, as King of the woods, of the rivers and floods,
Had a right all beasts to control;
Yet content with a few, to give nature her due,
So gen'rous was Tammany's soul! my brave boys.
In the morn he arose, and a hunting he goes,
Bold Nimrod his second, was he;
For his breakfast he'd take a large venison stake,
And dispis'd your flip-flops and tea, my brave boys.
While all in a row, with squaw, dog and b__,
Vermilion adorning his face;
With feathery head he rang' d the woods wide,
Sure St. George had never such grace, my brave boys:
His jetty black hair, such as Buckskin saints wear,
Perfumed with bear's grease well smear'd,
Which illum'd the saint's face, and ran down apace,
Like the oil from off Aaron's beard, my brave boys.
The strong nervous deer, with amazing career,
In swiftness he'd fairly run down,
And, like Sampson, wou'd tear wolf, lion or bear;
Ne'er was such a saint as our own, my brave boys.
When he'd run down a stag, he behind him wou'd lag,
For so noble a soul had he!
H'd stop, tho' he lost it, tradition reports it,
To give him fresh chance to get free, my brave boys.
From his quiver he drew forth an arrow so keen,
And seiz'd fast his imperial bow;
It flew straight to the heart, like an Israelite dart;
Could St. Andrew ever do so, my brave boys?
With a mighty strong aim, and a masculine bow,
His arrow he drew to the head,
And as sure as he shot, it was ever his lot,
His prey it fell instantly dead, my brave boys.
His table he spread, where the venison bled;
Be thankful, he used to say;
He'd laugh and he'd sing, tho' a saint and a king,
And sumptuously dine on his prey, my brave boys.
Then over the hills, o'er the mountains and rills,
He'd caper, such was his delight;
And ne'er in his days, Indian history says,
Did lack a good Supper at night, my brave boys.
On an old stump he sat, without cap or hat,
When Supper was ready to eat;
Snap his dog, he stood by, and cast a sheep's eye,
For venison's the king of all meat, my brave boys.
Like Isaac of old, and both cast in one mould,
Tho' a wigwam was Tamm'ny's cottage,
He lov'd sav'ry meat, such that patriarch eat;
Of ven'son and squirrel made pottage, my brave boys.
* * * *
As old age came on, he grew blind, deaf and dumb,
Tho' his sport ‘twere hard to keep from it,
Quite tired of life, bid adieu to his wife,
And blaz' d like the tail of a comit, my brave boys.
What country on earth, then did ever give birth,
To such a magnanimous saint?
His acts far excel all that history tell,
And language too feeble to paint, my brave boys.
Now to finish my song, a full flowing bowl;
I'll quaff' and sing the long day,
And with punch and wine paint my cheeks for my saint,
And hail ev'ry first of Sweet May, my brave boys."