Roger Clemens was indicted for perjury.Â Former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich was convicted on one count of 24 charges â€“ that of lying to the FBI. Common thread?Â Their troubles did not spring from their mistakes, misjudgments, and almost felonies.Â Their troubles resulted from what they did when their conduct percolated to the surface.Â Well, their troubles began when their conduct gushed to the surface like oil from a BP Gulf rig.Â From the time of Nixon, itâ€™s always the cover-up that gets you.Â Â President Nixon was not one of the Watergate burglars. Nor was anyone able to show he was in on the planning for the Keystone Kop sleuths who inartfully broke into the swank Democrat headquarters. But Mr. Nixon paid the price for trying to keep it all under wraps.Â You canâ€™t â€“ this stuff just wants out there. If Martha Stewart had just said, when the SEC came calling about her fortuitous sale of her ImClone shares, â€œOkay, probably crossed a few lines here,â€ then she would have faced a $10,000 fine and moved along. Life, cooking, Â gardening,Â decorating, and all things Martha would have continued outside Â penitentiary walls. Instead, Ms. Stewart attempted to alter phone logs, tried to have her broker and his assistant support her story of a stop-gap order (that was shown to be backdated through FBI ink analysis), and just generally tried to dupe the FBI.Â The FBI is not duped easily.Â Her conviction was for obstruction, not insider trading and not for anything involving the sale of the ImClone shares.Â
For Mr. Clemens, the Alex Rodriguez story is a study in contrast.Â Mr. A-Rod had the smarts when asked to admit that he knew he wasnâ€™t taking â€œTic-Tacs.â€ Â A-Rod just hit his 600th with little note made of his help from steroids along the way. Â Congress offered Mr. Clemens a deal before he testified in 2008 â€“ come clean, give us the information, and walk away.Â Mr. Clemens went another route that finds him indicated.
For Governor Blago, well, the tapes of his discussions on filling President Obamaâ€™s senate seat made our toes curl. As the discerning jury figured, these conversations did not clearly rise to the level of criminal conduct. However, the jury that could not agree on anything else offered a unanimous conviction on Blagoâ€™s conduct that was not related to the tapes and all their quid pro quo glory. Â Blagojevich was convicted of lying to federal agents when he told them that he did not track campaign contributions personally and that there was a “firewall” between his political campaigns and his government work.Â Right! Knowing who contributes to your campaign is not a crime.Â Lying about firewalls and what you do with the information is.
Get it out there and take your lumps.Â The lumps are smaller and go down more easily when we just â€˜fess up.