After ex-comedian Rosie O’Donnell’s meltdown on Twitter before the Senate’s big tax vote Tuesday night, President Donald Trump can reasonably direct federal authorities to lock her up — and even to “take some money out of her fat-ass pockets,” which he once infamously cited as a personal goal.
Starting a few hours before the legislation passed, O’Donnell tweeted:
Federal law addresses O’Donnell’s actions.
18 U.S. Code § 201 criminalizes the attempted bribery of federal officials by whoever “directly or indirectly, corruptly gives, offers or promises anything of value to any public official … with intent to influence any official act.”
The penalty? For Rosie, she could spend up to 15 years in jail, suffer a lifetime ban from elective office and pay up to a cool $12 million:
The statute calls for a fine of “not more than three times the monetary equivalent of the thing of value, whichever is greater, or imprisoned for not more than fifteen years, or both, and may be
disqualified from holding any office of honor, trust, or profit under the United States.”
In court, O’Donnell would probably argue that her attempted bribe was in jest, or perhaps a syndrome of a mental illness.
After all, her attorneys would argue, who, while seriously attempting to bribe members of the U.S. Congress would do so in such a reckless, public manner that would all but ensure a conviction?
As of Wednesday morning, O’Donnell was so proud of her attempted bribe that she pinned it to the top of her account. If he wanted, Trump and his Justice Department could respond by pinning Rosie with a felony.
Even if her plan had little chance of success, one important goal of the statute against bribery is also to ensure trust in government and its processes — and O’Donnell’s tweets undermined that trust.