Alert the media! Tammy Bruce Show; Video: Payne says it’s perfectly legal to sell access
posted at 10:55 am on July 15, 2008 by Ed Morrissey
I’ll be appearing on the Tammy Bruce radio show today at 10:30 am PT/1:30 pm ET. We’ll start off by discussing the story from this weekend about Stephen Payne and his attempt to sell access to Dick Cheney and Condoleezza Rice for contributions to the George W Bush presidential library — as well as actual foreign-policy results. This story didn’t get a lot of attention, but it should have, and the Department of Justice needs to investigate this to see why the well-connected Payne felt so sanguine about making these offers, as well as for the obvious bribery and Logan Act violations.
Be sure to catch Tammy’s show on your local affiliate, or on her Internet stream.
Update: CNN has an update on this story. Stephen Payne now insists that selling access to White House officials may look like bribery, but it’s not illegal. Unfortunately for Payne, that only covers part of the issue:
If one watches the entire Times of London video, Payne promises more to the supposed agent for Aksayev than just a meeting. He strongly suggests that he can deliver a statement from the US government that will cast Aksayev, a Soviet holdover, as a good man who deserves a second chance in Kyrgyzstan. That’s not just access, which is bad enough, but actual foreign policy action — not to mention interference in Kyrgyzstan’s internal politics.
Payne was conducting a private foreign policy for profit. If that’s not a violation of the Logan Act, then the law has no use at all.