The difficulty of proving a political fraud case

Mitt Romney joins others in saying that Donald Trump is working a fraud on voters.  He may be, but it will take more than other politicians saying so to prove it.  The other problem is that many in the establishment are imperfect messengers of this claim.

For example, Rubio said he was against amnesty when running for office and then tried to pass an amnesty bill after he was elected.  That looks like a pretty direct misrepresentation.  Others in the establishment promised to repeal Obamacare, and defund Obama's amnesty program and also cut wasteful spending, and then after they were elected they fully funded much of Obama's wish list including Obamacare and amnesty.  This has led to much of the anger that Trump supporters have.

Trump has engaged in some business practices that some of his customers think were fraudulent, such as the Trump University case.  So far Trump's chief defense involves an evaluation sheet the attendees were asked to fill out at the end of the program.  But that is not really a fair test of the value of the program.  A fair test would be to ask for an evaluation a year later to see if any of the students got any return on their investment in the program.

You also need discovery to get document production and depositions to get to the facts.  That is not possible in a political campaign unless Trump screws up and sues someone like Ted Cruz who could then depose him.

One element of a fraud can be a material failure to disclose facts that would be important to someone's investment decision.  Trump could be vulnerable there if he were selling a product rather than soliciting a vote.  For example, how is he going to get Mexico to pay for a fence it does not want?  Will he abrogate NAFTA?  Will he start a trade war and impose a tariff on goods built in Mexico by American companies?

That said, Trump does sometimes present himself like a con man.  He boasts about his plans without any specifics on how he would implement.  Some of his plans appear to be of questionable legality such as killing the families of terrorists.


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