"All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others."

Thus concluded George Orwell's famous work "Animal Farm." If you've never read it, you should. It's a masterful allegory illustrating the failures of communism, which promises equality to all, but ends up creating different sets of rules for rulers and the common people.

Fortunately, we don't have communism in Alabama. But Orwell's immortal words are just as applicable to us for another reason.

In December, 1819 News reported that Mac McCutcheon, former Speaker of the Alabama House of Representatives, was linked to a company involved in kickbacks and fraud. The company CEO and numerous others were prosecuted, while McCutcheon and his son Chris, the company's CFO, were not.

On February 14, 1819 News reported that Mac McCutcheon used his political influence to get the Alabama legislature to pass a resolution to help his son's business. The following day, 1819 News released a thorough and very disturbing report of where the money went. Mac McCutcheon got at least $90,000 for working as a "consultant" for the company, while his son Chris spent thousands of dollars of the company's money on himself in a "pump and dump" scheme. After bleeding the company's finances dry, Chris McCutcheon got the federal government to prosecute Hornbuckle. Now, Hornbuckle is facing prison time, while Chris McCutcheon walks away richer.

Truthfully, this kind of stuff is not my cup of tea. My eyes start glazing over after 30 seconds when people start telling me money stories.

But this isn't about money. It's about our politicians being "more equal" than the rest of us.

In Exodus 18:21, Moses selected leaders from among the people to help him. In other words, he had to select men who could be trusted for public service. Moses focused on four qualifications: "[1] able men [2] who fear God, [3] men of truth, [4] those who hate dishonest gain." Other translations interpret that fourth qualification as "hate a bribe."

While my dispensationalist brain can't say that this is always the litmus test for public office, even those like me who see a sharp divide between the two testaments must recognize the wisdom of this passage. Put simply, would government be better or worse if we had men like this in public office? No rational person could argue that government would be worse if our politicians had these qualifications.

But let's focus on that last element: hating a bribe. It's not enough to not take bribes. On the contrary, the honorable politician must be disgusted, angered, and provoked to take action against those who attempt to bribe him. He must recognize that a bribe "blinds the clear-sighted and subverts the cause of the just." If justice is the business of government, then bribery poses just as much a threat to good government from the inside as an invading army does from the outside.

It seems 1819 News has made a good case that Mac McCutcheon was trading political favors for money. It also appears that his son was guilty of draining the company's resources and then setting his business partner up for prison time. If true, this is bribery, financial corruption and perversion of justice.

The American and Alabama Constitutions guarantee that nobody is above the law because of who they are. Like the constitution in "Animal Farm," both the state and national constitution guarantee that all of us are equal.

But those concepts are nothing more than words on paper if they do not apply equally. Otherwise, we don't have equal justice under law.

Instead, we have two classes of people: the normal citizens who can be prosecuted for breaking the law, and a political class that can break the law at will. Not only can the latter get away with it, but they can also set up people from the first class to take the fall.

If that scares you, then for the love of liberty, demand better of your politicians! A vigilant, active citizenry who hates a bribe and demands accountability of anyone in the political class who takes one is the only way to fight such corruption.

If you're not interested, be warned: the political class is interested in you. If they profited from John Hornbuckle and then made him take the fall, why won't they do the same to you if given the chance?

The only solution to corruption is to fight it. If we don't, then rest assured, the fight will surely come to you.

Matt Clark is the President of the Alabama Center for Law and Liberty, a conservative nonprofit law firm that fights for limited government, free markets, and strong families in the courts. His column appears every Friday in 1819 News. The opinions expressed in this column are those of the author. The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the policy or position of 1819 News. To comment, please send an email with your name and contact information to Commentary@1819News.com.

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