By Brad Friedman on 2/16/2011, 3:42pm PT  

[I'll have a few assorted updates and follow-ups in the U.S. Chamber Plot debacle soon, but there have been a few items of note that I didn't want to lose here entirely. This is one of them. - BF | UPDATE: I've now added an addendum to the bottom of this article.]

If there's anything we've learned over the recent decade, it's that if you're a Republican, or if you're among the favored corporate elite of any party in this nation for that matter --- as highlighted yet again by the U.S. Chamber's planned $12 million hit-job on U.S. citizens (including yours truly and family) and other progressive journalists and organizations --- there are a completely different set of laws that apply to you. Namely, very few of our laws actually apply to you at all. Feel free to break them with impunity!

Nonetheless, over the past week, there have been what we might call a "spate", comparatively, of Republicans actually being held accountable with prison sentences, albeit very small ones. These come on the heels of former U.S. House Majority Leader Tom Delay (R-Corruptionville)'s conviction last November on all counts in a corporate money laundering conspiracy in TX used to get GOP candidates elected in TX, and subsequently change the balance of power in the U.S. House. (He is currently appealing, naturally). But it's nice to see some, if very few, of these charlatans, for a change, not get off completely scot-free. Here are three cases, including yet another case of a Republican working to keep American citizens from casting their legal vote in an election...

• On Monday, as TPM reports (but not Fox "News"), a former Republican California congressional candidate, Tan Nguyen, was actually sentenced to 366 days for lying to federal investigators about a voter suppression scheme targeting 14,000 in Orange County. The judge also sentenced to an addition six months at a halfway house. The vote suppression conviction is yet another one for a Republican in California, as The BRAD BLOG readers may recall when, in the run-up to the 2008 election as Fox was inventing phony ACORN "voter fraud" stories from whole cloth around the clock, a real case of voter registration fraud, effecting thousands of voters, was busted up when Mark Anthony Jacoby, the head of the CA GOP's voter registration firm Young Political Majors was himself arrested for fraud (to which he later plead guilty).

That story, of course, would not likely have seen the light of day on Fox "News" either, had I not personally been on air at the time to tell their viewers about it in my own "Fox News Alert". Wonder why Fox hasn't asked me back since then? Or reported on a real case of voter disenfranchisement as carried about in the Nguyen story?

Also from TPM, Michael Scanlon --- Jack Abramoff's partner and Communication Director for the convicted former U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Corrupt) --- was sentenced on Friday to 20 months in federal prison and 300 hours of community service for his role in the Abramoff scandals. He may also be ordered to pay more than $20 million in compensation to a number of Indian tribes that were defrauded in their schemes. Scanlon, who cooperated with federal investigators and plead guilty, had hoped to get off with no jail time. As TPM reports, "His legal team repeatedly called for a reduced sentence, claiming that Scanlon was a 'changed man' and a better man than the one who ridiculed his Native American clients as 'monkeys' and 'troglodytes' while defrauding them."

• Finally, as we noted just over a week ago on the Mike Malloy Show, as the news was just breaking, Scott Bloch, the former head of the Office of Special Counsel during the Bush Administration, must spend at least one month in jail, according to the federal judge handling his case. Bloch, whose office is tasked with protecting whistleblowers, among other things, had pleaded guilty of contempt of Congress, for lying during a probe of his having retaliated against employees. Great whistlelbower protector, eh? Worse, he then used Geeks on Call to delete his government hard drive as he came under scrutiny by investigators. The judge, who might otherwise have acceded to prosecutors pleas to keep poor Scott out of jail, found that, due to federal minimum sentencing laws, she had no choice but to sentence him to a month in the pokey.

Other than those very minor recent slaps on the wrist, of course, the operative axiom remains in effect (just ask Clarence Thomas): IOKIYAR.

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ADDENDUM: Matt Taibbi's new piece "Why Isn't Wall Street in Jail?" in today's Rolling Stone begins this way:

Over drinks at a bar on a dreary, snowy night in Washington this past month, a former Senate investigator laughed as he polished off his beer.

"Everything's fucked up, and nobody goes to jail," he said. "That's your whole story right there. Hell, you don't even have to write the rest of it. Just write that."

I put down my notebook. "Just that?"

"That's right," he said, signaling to the waitress for the check. "Everything's fucked up, and nobody goes to jail. You can end the piece right there."

He didn't, but we will.