Below is some basic legal analysis showing that FBI Director James Comey violated the Hatch Act in his disclosures related to the Clinton investigation in violation of long-standing precedent and Justice Department protocol. It's actually a pretty easy case to make.
The Hatch Act (5 U.S. Code § 7323(a)(1)) provides:
"(a) ... an employee may not--
(1) use his official authority or influence for the purpose of interfering with or affecting the result of an election;"
- even though he used his official authority, and
- even though it clearly interfered with or affected the result of the election, and
- even though Comey certainly realized or should have realized his use of official authority would affect the election
That it's still not a violation of the Hatch Act, because Comey did not act "for the purpose" of interfering with the election.
They say Comey did not have the requisite "intent" to violate the Hatch Act.
But the Hatch Act is not a criminal statute where you must prove intent beyond a reasonable doubt. That's a tough standard to reach. James Comey, like Hillary Clinton, will not be indicted. (And, of course, his offense is far more grave than hers. She merely followed her predecessors' email protocol, whereas he violated decades of long-standing precedent designed to ensure the basic fairness and due process of our criminal justice system.)
The Hatch Act is not grounds for criminal prosecution. It is grounds to fire a federal employee. As such, the standard is not proof beyond a reasonable doubt but the "preponderance of the evidence."
So what does the evidence show? How can we possibly know Comey's intent? We can't read his mind.
Intent is hard to know unless the subject of the inquiry has stated his intent. And Comey did!
"This will be an unusual statement in at least a couple ways. First, I am going to include more detail about our process than I ordinarily would, because I think the American people deserve those details in a case of intense public interest. "
Now wait a second. Why is this "a case of intense public interest"? I mean, just a few years ago, the Bush Administration illegally deleted 22 million emails after being held in criminal contempt and to cover up several serious allegations of criminal behavior, which ended up in the criminal conviction of Cheney aide Scooter Libby, and there's not much interest in that case.
No. The reason for the intense public interest has to be for one and one thing only: that Hillary Clinton is running for President of the United States.
What else could it be? (And remember the burden of proof is just the preponderance of the evidence. All we have to believe is that when Comey was saying people had intense public interest, he believed it was, in whole or in part, because of the election.)
Comey violated long-standing precedents and prosecutorial discretion and independence in order to help the American People make a decision in this election. Thus, he admitted his intent in disclosing this information was to affect the election.
And that is a violation of the Hatch Act.
So no, Comey does not have to be locked up. But he does have to be fired.