Cronyism in D.C.
While in D.C. these last few days, I’ve been following more closely the David Gregory case. In case you haven’t, here’s a recap. David Gregory, the host of NBC’s Meet the Press, displayed an illegal 30-bullet capacity gun magazine on Meet the Press a few weeks ago. In doing so, he broke the law. It turns out that he [or at least his staff, who, presumably, would have told him] knew he was breaking the law:
[D.C. Attorney General Irvin] Nathan wrote in the letter that while “some misinformation” was provided to NBC initially over the legality of displaying the high-capacity gun magazine, a Metropolitan Police Department employee advised the network showing it on the broadcast would violate D.C. law. “There was no contrary advice from any federal official,” Nathan added.
Seems clear, doesn’t it? Now I’m not an advocate of that law. And I agree that even if the law were a good law, Gregory and his staff didn’t do anything wrong. His goal was to catch Wayne LaPierre off-guard with a sensational moment on the air.
But then shouldn’t the same standard apply to all? A man named James Brinkley also broke the law but did nothing wrong. Yet, that same D.C. Attorney General’s office went after him as if he was a hardened criminal.
There are two, or maybe three, differences between the two cases. Here’s the first:
Just like Mr. Gregory, Mr. Brinkley called MPD [Metropolitan Police Department] in advance to ask for guidance on legally transporting his gun during the drop off. The police told that the gun had to be unloaded and locked in the trunk, and he couldn’t park the car and walk around. (The District’s transport law mirrors federal law in this respect.) Unlike Mr. Gregory, who apparently disregarded the response provided by the police, Mr. Brinkley followed the police orders exactly.
The second is that Gregory is well-known and Brinkley is not.
The third is that Gregory’s wife, Beth Wilkinson, and D.C. Attorney General are friendly acquaintances.