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Rep. Duncan Hunter of California cheated on his wife before throwing her under the bus after he got charged with embezzling campaign funds, according to court documents.

His wife handles the finances, Duncan said after embezzlement charges were filed -- right before those finances showed he had five "personal relationships" that involved some expense.

Rep. Chris Collins of New York was charged last month with the less bawdy but still serious crime of insider trading.

So, how did the president of the United States react to these revelations? Going all the way back to Monday -- ancient history in the current president's news cycle, I know -- here is the tweet:

"Two long running, Obama era, investigations of two very popular Republican Congressmen were brought to a well-publicized charge, just ahead of the mid-terms, by the Jeff Sessions Justice Department. Two easy wins now in doubt because there is not enough time. Good job Jeff."

Call me old-fashioned. I think voters would want to know before an election, rather than after, that their incumbent candidates might become convicted felons

Plenty of ink has spilled about how what the president expressed Monday shows contempt for the rule of law. I agree. But another aspect did not get enough attention. He said voters should be kept in the dark when House control is on the line. What voters do not know will not hurt us, so to speak.

What the president said is that the balance of partisan power in the House matters more than the best interests of the people those two congressmen represent. Those voters should take one -- or two, in this case -- for the team. He does not care if those voters' two congressmen are criminals as long as they are Republicans.

Eh, no.

Voters in California's 50th Congressional District and New York's 27th District had every right to know what their incumbent representatives were going to get charged with. They will take a much closer look at the particulars of these charges than I will. If they decide the charges are a political stunt and are willing to risk having their representatives removed from office if convicted, that is their choice.

But they are the ones to make that call.

Sure, I wish those voters had found out sooner. Sure, I wish they had a real verdict to judge by rather than charges. It certainly would have helped, for instance, if Collins had passed along insider information earlier than June of last year, as the charge alleged. By the way, the "Obama era" expired six months before.

But there is no reason -- none -- for deliberately leaving their voters in the dark.

Cases like Hunter and Collins are why I avoid early voting. If a candidate gets arrested or scandalized on the Tuesday of the election, I want to know. I am finicky that way.

Even the conservative blog "Power Line," which went mushy for the president as soon as Barack Obama left the office, could not hold back on this one: "Even the Obama Justice Department was willing to indict leading Democrats with no apparent pushback from Obama. It indicted then-Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr., an ally of Obama in Illinois politics. It also indicted Sen. Robert Menendez" of New Jersey.

Hunter and Collins were among the first members of Congress to support the president's nomination, by the way.

Beware the gator, with snakes for friends, who says he wants to drain the swamp.

Want easy wins? Run better, clean candidates, as the conservative National Review advised on this matter. Avoiding felony indictment is not too high a bar to clear, its editors pointed out.

The supreme irony of the peevish tweet from Monday is that the president would not face any mid-term risk to GOP control of the House if he could, for instance, stop tweeting nonsense.

Monday is a perfect example of why the anonymous op-ed written by a "senior official" in the administration and published later in the week had little effect when I read it. As John Brummett succinctly said on Wednesday -- in a tweet, ironically enough -- it did not tell us a thing we did not already know from the president's own tweets.

The op-ed did tell us that the party loyalists who fill the ranks of the administration really do not care what their voters think either. That is something we needed to know.

Commentary on 09/08/2018

Print Headline: The voters needed to know

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