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Severe punishment merited for abuse of any public trust

The power to profit greatly from their misdeeds and to be shielded from punishment is something of which all criminals dream. Occasionally, often through politics, some think they have achieved that.

If federal authorities are correct, former White House aide Steve Bannon is among them.

Bannon and three other men have been charged with various offenses in an online crowd-funding scheme. They set up an initiative they called “We Build the Wall” and sought donations from supporters of President Donald Trump’s plan to improve security on the U.S.-Mexico border.

Contributions were supposed to go to helping build new sections of border walls/fences. More than $25 million flowed in.

But federal prosecutors say Bannon and his three cronies used a substantial amount of the money to fund their own extravagant lifestyles. They may have skimmed millions from the campaign.

Among crimes they are accused of are fraud and money laundering.

Bannon claims the investigation and prosecution were politically motivated, because of his link to President Donald Trump. It needs to be noted that Bannon, once viewed as a confidant to the president, was fired from his White House post.

Had Bannon not been involved in the fundraising campaign, there can be no doubt it would not have collected anywhere near the amount it did.

If the authorities are right, then, Bannon attempted to capitalize on his fame and power for ill-gotten gains and his cronies were delighted to be able to grab onto his coattails.

If charges against the four are accurate, they are guilty in a way of abusing the public’s trust in a sordid crime spree. They ought to be punished severely, and should anyone else guilty of similar wrongdoing.

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