Public Corruption – What to Do?
By Jim Simpson
New revelations about Republican ties to convicted influence-peddler Jack Abramoff have brought to the fore once again the unfortunate specter of public corruption as two congressmen, John T. Doolittle (R-CA) and Rick Renzi (R-AZ) were forced off their respective committees when it came to light they were under FBI investigation. It is a sad and by now all too familiar story. It is also infuriating because as a former White House budget analyst, I know full well that the kind of influence peddling highlighted in the Abramoff scandals is only noteworthy because Mr. Abramoff and his conservative clients got caught.
Congressional Democrats have built this kind of influence-peddling system into a well-oiled machine. It is what keeps them going. With Republicans it is a criminal action. With Democrats it is business-as-usual. Even when caught red-handed, like Rep. William Jefferson (D-LA), with $90,000 cash in his freezer, or Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, with his blatantly corrupt land deal, they routinely slime their way out of it. While these stories did make their way into the media, “investigative” journalists seem to lose their ardor quickly when the target is one of their beloved fellow democrats, and the stories tend to die of neglect, or as with Harry Reid, get spun in the lawmaker’s favor.
In this situation, “investigative” journalism and “aggressive” law enforcement contributes to public corruption rather than preventing it. For if one party can manage to get away with it all the time, as the Democrats do, then going after the other party can only be seen as an exercise in power politics. That is, the law becomes merely a weapon used to eliminate political opponents rather than a standard by which all public officials must live. The Democrats’ media and law enforcement friends in effect have become just another extension of the party. That is endemic public corruption defined.
I know what you’re thinking. “We all know about leftist media bias; that’s a given; but federal law enforcement? Come on!” you say.
Think again. As a budgeter for law enforcement agencies in both the elder Bush and Clinton administrations, I saw daily how law enforcement agencies became slavish lap dogs for favored Congressional and Senatorial appropriators. They work hard to please and impress, and love it when one of their operations gets highlighted in the press. For example, as I asserted in a 1995 Washington Times article, I believe that the Branch Davidian fiasco at Waco, TX was originally caused by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms’ desire to impress Congress with a big bust and thereby get the budgetary attention they felt they deserved.
In that case they got more than they bargained for. But Congress spendeth and Congress taketh away. Agencies thus develop over time a symbiotic relationship with Congressmen and Senators, helping to deliver votes by hiring agents in needy districts, throwing contracts to favored states and districts, etc. This is the real pork spending and there are few components of the federal budget that are not part of it.
“Okay,” you respond. “That sounds plausible. But why should federal law enforcement agencies favor Democrats? Weren’t Republicans in charge of both houses for much of the past twelve years?”
Not really. Two reasons: 1. the sad fact is that all federal agencies are disproportionately peopled by democrats, the vast majority being liberal democrats. I would guess the ratio at the very least is 80% – 20% democrat/republican. If you remove DoD, it is probably closer to 95% democrat.
This is not entirely surprising. Democrats philosophically have much greater faith in government as a vehicle for social progress than republicans. Democrats are also much more ideologically driven, and recognize that packing agencies with their own kind is a strategy in its own right. That is a reason many democrat political appointees try to hang on to executive jobs when administrations change hands. Democrats are also much more likely to use ideological tests when hiring civil servants for key positions, despite the fact that it violates federal law.
Republicans, on the other hand, have a much greater faith in American free enterprise than our democratic counterparts. Despite Howard Dean’s blatantly dishonest slur, most republicans earn their money in private business and are not predisposed in any way toward government service, except perhaps in the military. For the most part such machinations as described above wouldn’t even occur to them, and Republicans are really only just beginning to catch on to the Democrats’ game.
Second, like their agency counterparts, Democrat politicians not only believe in government as a vehicle for change, they believe it is the only vehicle for change. It is all, repeat, ALL about control. They arrogate to themselves the right to use whatever methods necessary to deliver them the power necessary. They place democrat operatives in key agency positions and fight to keep them there. They create bureaucracies immune from budget cuts, supervision, or even significant policy changes and fight savagely to keep it that way.
They send out aggressive prosecutors on witch hunts with the express goal of smearing Republican opponents, especially effective ones, like Tom Delay. They sick sympathetic prosecutors on Republican presidential appointees over frivolous or invented charges, knowing that even when the charges are ultimately dropped, their adversaries have been forced to exhaust time and money defending themselves in court.
During the Clinton administration, Hillary even used trumped up charges against completely innocent White House travel office employees, simply so she could stock the office with friends of hers. The Travel Office for God’s sake! Lifelong employees of modest incomes were forced to defend themselves against a cabal of professional hatchetmen. Where was Hillary’s compassion for the little guy there?
Democrats truly believe they can do anything. They do not believe the word “corruption” can even apply to them, since, according to Marx’s famous dictum, they only recognize that morality which furthers their cause. Thus, despite their blatant cronyism, nepotism and corruption, that I would argue goes right over the border into sedition, both Bill Clinton and more recently Nancy Pelosi, boldly pronounced that they would lead “the most ethical” administration and Congress respectively, in history. I’m sure they still believe it.
Agencies work against Republicans, in sometimes subtle, other times not-so-subtle ways, because having their own party back in power usually appeals to both ideological and self-serving calculations. Even those agency leaders not ideologically predisposed to leftist policies know that Democrats are the party to please because of their organizational skills, penetration in depth of all levels of government and ruthless approach to politics. Bureaucrats know that once firmly back in the saddle, Democrats will open the money spigot in ways that would impress even the most profligate Republican spendthrift. Indeed, with their new PAYGO rules in place, and now muzzling the Congressional Research Service’s reporting on earmarks, the Democrat Congress is set up to do just that.
And while there may be corruption in both Parties today, wait and see how bad things get if the Democrats have their way and Republicans once again become an impotent minority. If you recall, it was largely Democrat corruption that finally lost them Congress the last time. Lest we forget: those corrupt Democrats who missed the axe last time are the ones in charge now.
As I said last November 8th, the 2006 elections were a disaster of epic proportions. While some Republican congressmen allowed themselves to be seduced by the system, the entire national democrat party is corrupt beyond salvaging. With a Republican majority, we as taxpayers got a temporary reprieve from the destructive, self-serving policies always pursued and once again being prepared for us by the new majority. If the current leadership has not made this fact completely transparent to you, then either you are on drugs, or you come from another planet.
Republicans must grab the initiative and retake Congress. President Bush must come out of his rabbit hole and confront these criminals head on. We are literally tottering at the abyss.
The Democrat majority is today pulling out all the stops to destroy this administration, even if it means endangering our troops and losing a war. Meanwhile they are preparing a destructive socialist agenda to impose on us, while flagrantly engaging in the unethical behavior they so hypocritically accuse Republicans of. They are aided and abetted by a sympathetic bureaucracy, while their media cronies run interference and cover their tails.
Through it all their belligerence makes unmistakably clear that there is no room for debate, compromise or moderation. Either you are with them, or you are an outcast – an alien in your own country. With their arrogant, slanderous slurs and kleptocratic plans they inflame the very divisions their destructive policies initially created and push our entire society closer and closer to anarchy.
In an earlier draft of this article, published prematurely by mistake at New Media Journal, I wistfully suggested that the President exercise his power to declare martial law and arrest the lot of them. But that it were so. While the President does have the constitutional authority to declare martial law during times of war and insurrection, he does not appear to have the legal authority to summarily arrest members of Congress. Too bad…
But that puts us in a real quandary. For once in his life, Al Gore was correct when he said “there is no controlling legal authority…” Who polices Congress when it runs amuck as it surely has today? Who arrests traitors using the halls of Congress to shield and facilitate their nefarious activities? Who defends us from a nationwide subversive conspiracy, coordinated by powerful politicians and Wall Street billionaires?
Are we approaching that point when we will have to take matters into our own hands? To paraphrase Jefferson, will the tree of liberty have to be refreshed with the blood of tyrants and patriots? Will the true purpose of the 2nd Amendment finally come to the fore? As early Supreme Court justice Joseph Story succinctly put it (emphasis mine):
The right of the citizens to keep and bear arms has justly been considered, as the palladium of the liberties of a republic; since it offers a strong moral check against the usurpation and arbitrary power of rulers; and will generally, even if these are successful in the first instance, enable the people to resist and triumph over them…
I hope it doesn’t come to that. But corruption is a deadly disease, and when the body politic is shot through with it, a nation, even a great one like ours, cannot long survive. We will be pushed, pulled and torn apart until one of two things happens. Either a tyrant, homegrown or foreign, will seize the opportunity and take the reins of government, or the people, recognizing at last the danger, will rise up and conclusively demonstrate that an armed republic cannot be so abused.
Jim Simpson is a businessman, free-lance writer and former White House staff economist and budget analyst who among other duties, oversaw budgets of Treasury Department law enforcement agencies.