The Democrats could be likened to a flock of docile lambs which go where their shepherd herds them. The Republicans can also be likened to sheep. They bleat loudly for the TV cameras and on the Internet, but bleating is about all they seem capable of. They allow the President to herd them and the country in the direction he is going and to the ends he intends. Let’s take the two current hot domestic political issues as examples.
The orchestrated influx of illegal alien minors
Reacting to the flood of children from Central America that are inundating our southern border, John Boehner wrote a letter to the President in which he correctly noted that the policies of the Obama administration “have directly resulted in the belief…that once they reach U.S. soil they will be able to stay here indefinitely.” Boehner went on to suggest that Obama “should immediately deploy the National Guard to our southern border.” Something that he knows the President has no intention of doing.
The National Guard in each state serves as that state’s militia. As such it can be called to active duty by the governor of the state to help respond to domestic emergencies.
The mass immigration of unaccompanied minors is clearly a domestic emergency for the states bordering Mexico. But the Republican governors of Arizona, New Mexico and Texas seem incapable of doing anything other than complaining about the Obama administration’s failure to foresee the crisis and to deal with it. Instead of bleating like sheep, Jan Brewer, Susana Martinez and Rick Perry should activate their National Guards and deploy them to secure their borders. Obama would undoubtedly place the Guards under DOD control and order them back to their bases to prevent the governors from securing their borders, but then it would be clear that this influx, if not orchestrated by the Obama administration, is welcomed by it.
The IRS scandal
The Congressional hearings on the IRS targeting of conservative groups are great political theater. Republican Congressmen have called the IRS commissioner a liar.
Democratic Congressmen have jumped to his defense and apologized to him for the rude way in which he has been treated. But for all the bleating, are we any closer to the truth about who was behind the targeting? No, we are not.
Lois Lerner took the Fifth Amendment, and refused to answer any questions posed by Congress. The right to remain silent is a key provision of our Constitutional liberties. Under our system of justice, no one can “be compelled in a criminal case to be a witness against himself.” This is a criminal case, and Congressional Committees are not designed, nor can they function effectively, as prosecutorial bodies.
A June 2013 Congressional Research Service report concluded that Congress lacks the authority to appoint “an ‘independent counsel,’ a ‘special prosecutor,’ or a ‘special counsel’ to investigate and prosecute potential or possible violations of federal criminal law by officials in the executive branch of the federal government and in federal agencies.” The CRS report states that the Attorney General may appoint a special counsel from outside of the Department of Justice and may invest that individual “with all the authority of the Attorney General” to “conduct investigations or prosecutions of particular matters or individuals on behalf of the United States.”
The President has called the malfeasance at the IRS a “phony scandal” and said that while some “boneheaded decisions” were made, there is not a “smidgeon of corruption.” It is no surprise that Attorney General Holder agrees with the President and has absolutely no intention of appointing a special counsel.
Since the Attorney General will not appoint a special counsel, does this mean that the truth will never be unveiled, and all the Republicans can do is continue bleating about Lerner’s refusal to testify and the implausible loss of emails? No, it does not. The IRS shares tax records and other data with State Tax Departments. If the wrongdoing at the IRS violated Federal statutes, it likely violated applicable state laws as well. The targeting of conservative groups first surfaced in the Cincinnati office of the IRS, so the Republican Attorney General of Ohio, Mike De Wine, has ample grounds to conduct a criminal investigation. De Wine could conduct his investigation jointly with state attorneys general of states in which organizations targeted by the IRS are headquartered. Such an investigation would likely show that the President’s “not a smidgeon of corruption” remark is as false as the contention that all of the relevant emails are irretrievable.
Professor Margaret Lemos, a constitutional law scholar, in an article in the New York University Law Review (2011) argues that states have the authority to enforce federal criminal law and doing so “can serve as a potent means of state influence.” Eric Holder cannot stop state attorneys general from investigating criminal violations of state laws, but he would undoubtedly attempt to stop them from investigating any violations of federal criminal law that occurred as a result of the actions taken by various IRS and other federal government officials. By doing that, he would make it clear to all but the most diehard supporters of the Obama administration that this is anything but a “phony scandal.”
A state attorney general investigation is the long way around to get at the truth, but properly conducted it can get to the bottom of this, whereas all the Congressional bleating in the world cannot.
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Contributed by Al Kaltman of Canada Free Press.