In his testimony on Friday before a House committee, just-ousted acting IRS Commissioner Stephen Miller made a startling pronouncement. At least startling to some.
When asked if IRS had done anything wrong, Miller matter-of-factly said “No”. He argued it acted inappropriately, but it was not illegal for IRS to group together political enemies of the Administration, big government, Obama, statism, (choose more than one if you wish) and target them for extra scrutiny, up to and including harassment and intimidation. Or Voter Suppression, as the case seems to be here.
Of course, the immediate come-back should be “Then, why were you fired?”, to which a quick Miller would have likely responded, “Optics.” True, his firing was purely for optics.
But Miller actually raised a good point that has been sitting under the nose of Congress for quite some time. I am quite certain there is no specific USC Title 18 criminal code barring such conduct, nor is there likely to be an IRS regulation that carries with it criminal sanctions. In other words, the only way you can make a criminal case in these events is to extrapolate from other laws. But in order to extrapolate one must want to be able to build a criminal case and prosecute it in the first place.
Oh, there a criminal case there, all right, but who do you know in the Obama administration who would want to prosecute anyone in the IRS, or any other agency for that matter, for doing what has been explicitly the purpose of this administration since the first day?
So, just how do you go about prosecuting criminal wrongdoers, Mssrs Boehner, Issa, and McConnell, when those legally obliged with bringing those cases don’t want to? Or worse, are co-conspirators in the crimes? (There is an answer, actually more than one, but I’m not holding my breath.)
We raised this same issue last year, here and here about Fast & Furious, in which we showed beyond a reasonable doubt that individuals in ATF (and possibly DOJ) had committed felony wanton endangerment by placing dangerous instrumentalities (guns) in the hands of people (Mexican drug gangs) likely to do harm with them (kill people, at last counting over 500 Mexicans, if you consider them “people,” which the media doesn’t, or just one American, if that’s all you’re counting.)
Understand me here. Just the mere giving them the guns can get you six months. But if someone gets hurt, or killed, that can work its way up to 10-15 years in the slammer.
But here’s rub. That statutory law applies to me or you, ordinary citizens, or even a state trooper or city cop in Phoenix, but not apparently to any federal officer, so long as he was acting under the “color of law.” That’s the way they’ve been playing it for years, going all the way back to the civil rights days, when the only honest cop in America was a fed, or so we thought.
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I said at the time that Arizona should have brought charges against ATF members immediately. But they didn’t.
I have scanned the USC criminal statues and found there is no federal criminal law that requires a federal agent to stay within the bounds of existing state or federal law as long as he is acting within the scope of his job. Did you know that?
Can we imply a criminal law exists? Why, yes we can, but guess what? The only person who can bring charges is the DOJ, and guess what again, they were co-conspirators in planning and running this illegal gun-running operation.
Now, federal law is all over a federal agent if he/she discriminates against another federal employee on the basis of race,
creed, gender, or sexual orientation. A process is set up for that sort of claim, but it does not include jail time. Just a reprimand, maybe sensitivity training, a frownie face in the personnel file, and in worst cases, suspension.
But it only applies when federal employees are the victims. Ordinary citizens can’t make use of the same process if a fed kicks them around. Feds can send a SWAT team to kick in your door, tear up your house, and the only sanction against them is that anything they find can’t be used in evidence against you. But if the dispatcher typed in the wrong zip code or street number by mistake, and the suspect crack house is really twenty blocks, or miles away, it just sucks to be you, for all you get is an “Oops,” maybe a “Sorry, excuse us,” and a 75-page form to fill out for reimbursement for the damage they did, that will take six months to be resolved.
In other words, when the law tells ICE, e.g., it must do “this, this and this,” if ICE doesn’t want to do “this, this and this,” as we’ve seen in recent years, there is no one to make them, or to bring charges against them if they refuse. We’ve seen this a lot lately, so we already know this, but we don’t really stop to consider these intentional violations of law as criminal. They are.
The same goes for EPA, Homeland Security. You name it. Arizona would never have had to go to court to defend itself against Holder had they treated ICE and the Administration’s violation of federal law as criminal instead of administrative.
Every agency has its own Inspector General (IG) but all they do is investigate and recommend, and when they recommend criminal actions, that recommendation gets bumped over to guess who, the Attorney General, meaning the “crime” has come full circle since any illegal act the agency and its people are committing is only prosecutable when it is also something the boss (the President and AG) didn’t want done.
Just look at the shallow nature of the IG report in the IRS scandal, which was in response to congressional inquiries by the way, and not internally generated. If you want to see the IG get mean, let them be tasked by their own chain of command to find whistle-blowers. Now there is an area where ears and noses and fingers can get chopped off, witness the recent DOJ assault on the AP phone system. They were looking for whistle-blowers, not the other, better known sort of security threat we’ve all come to know and fear.
Even Kermit Gosnell had to be indicted and tried in a state court in Philadelphia, because there is less than a 50-50 chance the Department of Justice would have pushed it forward, against the express wishes of one of its biggest sponsors, Planned Parenthood (who mysteriously showed up several times in those IRS questionnaires).
What to do? What to do?
This problem goes back to the Clinton years (remember the un-redacted FBI files and Craig Livingstone, who also didn’t do to jail, and who refused to commit sueeecide, at the behest of Tom Lantos in 1996?).
The fact that Democrats do this all the time means Republicans will also be accused of it all the time whether they ever do it at all, so we have to accept the fact that public trust no longer exists in this area of government and law. All that exists is stupidity as to what is and is not illegal and what is and is not criminally prosecutable.
So it seems the old practice of simply appointing a special prosecutor every time a big case comes up won’t work anymore, since we are now in an era of a continuing state of criminality, either real or imagined.
Instead we need a full-time separate investigative agency that answers to Congress or the Court, or both, and not the White House. The FBI is peculiarly suited for this purpose, and all they need is to be separated from DOJ, and bring forward their own litigation and prosecution teams. And they still have at least a 50% respectability rating with the people.
But the quickest disincentive against federal criminality is for the states, at least the more rambunctious ones, to train and alert their own police forces and district attorneys (and AG) that federal agents should not be considered sovereignly immune as they push their way into citizens homes, or go off killing innocent Mexicans on a lark, as they did in Arizona.
In fact, I’d still like to see Arizona bring charges in Fast and Furious, just to force Holder & Co to have to come to federal court in Arizona and argue OUT LOUD what they have silently practiced for several years now, namely that they are above all law except the law they choose to impose upon themselves.
Finally, there is a lot of scholarship arising from the IRS case that suggests that the sort of misconduct by IRS agents is a violation of citizens’ civil rights, from the First Amendment on. Of course it is, but just try to find a venue to raise that issue. Alan Dershowitz can come up with all the charges he wants, and I’ll agree every time, but it will still require the political will to bring those charges. That political will does not exist on either side of the aisle right now, albeit for different reasons.
In today’s legal and political climate, government self-immunization from prosecution is really easy, which means wrong-doing by government is also getting easier. In four years we’ve taken giant steps up to real criminality. Open and brazen. So brazen in fact, once again, our guileless representatives can’t allow themselves to believe the unbelievable. If it walks like a crime, talks like a crime, and looks and smells like a crime, Mr Boehner, it’s a goddam crime.
Eric Holder announced early in Obama’s first term that they’ll only seek prosecution against people they want to prosecute. Black people are exempt, and white people need not apply. Since then, the list has grown to include people of faith, people of moral depth, people with even the least Constitutional regard, in short, old-fashioned Americans. And this permeates every aspect of our lives. We know this because the architect of the IRS scandal has since moved on to run the implementation of Obamacare at IRS.
If we stop looking at these people at IRS as wayward bureaucrats, but rather as criminals, as we should those few “killers” at ATF, then we would be asking today, “What’s a criminal on the lam doing running Obamacare at IRS?” Surround the place and smoke her out.
Benghazi proved that politics doesn’t begin when the first man lies (Obama or Hillary, your choice) but when the first man seeks the truth.
It also proves that all human conduct, lamentably, is now submitted to a political litmus. This is the antithesis of everything this nation was created for.
We have to stop this now.
It’s not that Holder disappoints me, for I expect no less from the man, I certainly expect no less from Obama. Or any of their minions. All I want is to be able to use the same garotte they’ve claimed to use on us, so that they will know the statute of limitations will never run, and they cannot outrun it.