The Honest Services of Jeff Skilling and the TSA

Our Glorious TSA, a post on Volokh Conspiracy, is a great read, and there was a truly intriguing comment:

If I were granted a monopoly on offering a specific service, and then I pretended to offer it far more than actually offering it, would that be honest services fraud? Certainly it does seem to be a scheme to falsely deny us the intangible right to honest services regarding airport security more directly than almost any application of that law, such as that of Jeff Skilling. Is the TSA above the law? (Assume for the moment that the Supreme Court does NOT strike the law down.)

Wow. That’s a fascinating take on the whole trainwreck that is the TSA. Whatever one thinks of Jeff Skilling, the illustration of honest services becomes clear when applied to the TSA. The only possible problem in the analogy is that the TSA’s “shareholders” are the bureaucrats in Washington, not the ordinary citizens who require its services to fly. If the TSA is working to appease bureaucrats, it is probably doing a solid “B+” job. If it is working to make travel safe, then it’s depriving all citizens of its honest services.

I’d love to see someone bring a lawsuit to TSA based on honest services fraud. Watching the government explain why it is exempt from Honest Services while Jeff Skilling, one of the best and most brilliant businessmen of our generation, rots in prison due to that same government’s capricious honest service fraud allegations would please me very much.

Go Jeffrey Go.

[Cross-posted at The Enron Blog]

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  1. Lee Keller King says:

    The TSA is subject to Pournelle’s Iron Law of Bureaucracy, which states:

    “In any bureaucracy, the people devoted to the benefit of the bureaucracy itself always get in control and those dedicated to the goals the bureaucracy is supposed to accomplish have less and less influence, and sometimes are eliminated entirely.”

    Need I say more?

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