(CNSNews.com) - A coalition of "progressive" organizations has decided that senior White House officials who might be convicted in the Valerie Plame affair -- if they are even indicted -- could receive a sentence of life in prison under U.S. sentencing guidelines.
The coalition, which calls itself VelvetRevolution, says it is dedicated to "honest government."
Its website offers a $120,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of corrupt government officials, and it says it is particularly interested in anyone who can shed light on "the illegal outing of CIA Agent Valerie Plame; the illegal payment of bribes to Congressman Dennis Hastert; and the rigging of the 2004 presidential election in Ohio."
VelvetRevolution says that by going after Wilson and his wife, White House officials "apparently committed serious crimes which they then compounded by obstructing justice and committing and suborning perjury."
Even in the "best-case scenario," the group says, any White House official convicted on a single count of perjury or obstruction of justice could get the maximum sentence of five years in prison.
Here's the reasoning, as laid out by VelvetRevolution:
Under federal sentencing guidelines, "both charges [perjury and obstruction of justice] have a base offense level of 14, and those convicted will most probably receive enhancements of 3 levels for substantial interference with the administration of justice, 6 levels for victimizing a government employee and family member, 2 levels for abuse of the public trust, and 4 levels for being a leader. These total 29 levels, which equals 87-108 months in federal prison under the guidelines, are far above the five-year statutory maximum, so the final sentence will be five years."
But the coalition notes that federal prosecutors rarely issue one-count indictments - and that makes it "highly likely that Special Prosecutor Fitzgerald will throw the book at them."
As VelvetRevolution explains, that would change the "base offense level" configurations to the point where a life sentence could be imposed for multiple, consecutive convictions.
"Indeed, the only hope for them (Karl Rove and Lewis 'Scooter' Libby) under the guidelines appears to be a quick decision to cooperate with the special prosecutor," the VelvetRevolution press release said.
But there's hope, it adds: Rove and Libby can save their own skin "by implicating and testifying against fish bigger than they are, and that means George Bush and Dick Cheney."
The group concludes that the only guarantee for "Rove and his conspirators to limit their prison time is complete cooperation before indictment," something it admits is unlikely to happen.
Despite rampant speculation in the mainstream press, no one knows what the federal grand jury is up to, nor even when the special prosecutor will return indictments - if he has any to return.
Most observers expect a grand jury decision any day now. President Bush is refusing to comment until the grand jury concludes its investigation.
See Earlier Story:
Democrat Party Keeping Its Focus on Karl Rove (14 Sept. 2005)
Liberals Find the Lighter Side of a 'Serious' National Security Matter (9 Aug. 2005)
And Now, Back to Karl Rove.... (27 July 2005)
Bush Will Comment 'Once the Investigation Is Complete' (13 July 2005)
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