If You Want to Lie, Run for Office

NC Attorney General Josh Stein

NC Attorney General Josh Stein

If you lie to the police, you end up in jail. If you lie to your spouse, you end up in divorce court. And, if you lie to the IRS, you end up broke. Yet according to a recent ruling by the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals, you can lie and get away with it if you’re running for public office. I’ll come back to that moronic ruling in a moment.

During President Biden’s recent State of the Union address, representative Marjorie Taylor Greene yelled out, “Liar!!” Not that Uncle Joe hasn’t fibbed in his life, but it’s just not good form to interrupt the President of the United States, much less call him a liar. Moreover, the woman doing the shouting doth protest too much. Greene, the poster girl for white trash, spreads lies as freely as a farmer spreads manure. The only difference is that Green’s lies carry more of a lasting odor. Who could ever forget her claim that the 2018 California wildfires were started by Jewish space lasers? She also said that Nancy Pelosi had “Gazpacho” police spying on members of Congress. Of course, Greene meant to say Gestapo, but you can’t blame her because English is a second language for Marjorie. Greene said a plane didn’t hit the Pentagon on 9/11, and that monkeypox is a sexually transmitted disease. She claimed that global warming is good for humanity, and she still believes that the 2020 election was stolen.

But just when we thought Congress had hit rock bottom with Greene, we were introduced to George Santos, or should I say, Anthony Devolder. “Santos” has lied and continues to lie about anything and everything, including that he graduated from NYU and was a star player on the Baruch College volleyball team when they beat Yale. The problem is Baruch never played Yale during the time Santos says he attended, and, in fact, he never attended Baruch or NYU. He says he worked for Citigroup and Goldman Sachs, but he never worked for either company. He said he is Jewish, but he’s Catholic. He said that his grandparents fled the Holocaust, but they were born and lived in Brazil, and he claims his mother was working in the South Tower on 9/11 and eventually died from exposure to toxic debris. Actually, she was in Brazil at the time of the attack. Santos said he owns more than a dozen rental properties, but in truth, he owns none. He claims to have produced Spiderman on Broadway and that he was once mugged. Neither is true. I could go on, but why bother.

Unfortunately, Greene and Santos occupy positions of responsibility and power, and they vote on legislation that can affect all of us. Also unfortunate is the fact that politicians like them never get punished for lying, either during their campaign or anytime afterward. How many times have you heard a media pundit say, “There’s no law against lying.” Well, that’s sort of a lie itself, at least here in North Carolina, where a liable law actually exists. It was passed in 1931, but hardly ever heard of until last year. 

The saga began when Democrat Attorney General Josh Stein was running for re-election against Forsyth D.A. Jim O’Neill. The hot-button issue of their campaign was the backlog of unprocessed rape kits on both the state and local levels. Stein crossed the line when he ran a TV ad that accused O’Neill of having “left 1,500 rape kits sitting on the shelf.” The implication was that O’Neill’s failure to test those rape kits in a timely manner allowed rapists to roam free and rape more victims. O’Neill charged that Stein had violated the 1931 liable law which, “makes it a misdemeanor to knowingly circulate false, derogatory reports about a candidate with the intent of hurting that candidate’s chances in the election.”Violators of the law could pay a fine and spend up to 60 days in jail.

A Wake County grand jury was poised to indict Stein, but the very next day, a three-judge panel voted 2 to 1 to grant the Attorney General an injunction so that Stein could have time to prove that the 1931 law he broke was unconstitutional. The two who ruled for Stein were fellow Democrats. The dissenting judge believed that lying and defaming was not protected speech. Nevertheless, the injunction kept the Wake County D.A. from sending Stein to jail. On February 8 of this year, a federal appeals court in Richmond slammed the door shut on O’Neill’s case. Said O’Neill, “Josh Stein won a ruling today that changes the law in North Carolina so that politicians running for office can now openly lie to the public and make any outrageous claims they want, all in an effort to get re-elected.”  

Stein’s TV ad helped him defeat O’Neill last fall, and now our Attorney General has his sights set on the Governor’s mansion. And so, boys and girls, this lesson in civics teaches us that it’s OK to lie, and that if you ever get caught breaking a law, just ask the judge not to punish you so that you’ll have time to change the law that you broke. Ain’t America a great country?


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