Scandal after scandal, coupled with an ongoing contempt for the law and the Constitution, demonstrated by high-level officials and the president himself, point to one deeply troubling conclusion: the Obama administration may be the most corrupt administration ever inflicted on the American public. And while the mainstream media have done a remarkable job deflecting much of that reality, even they cannot keep up with the avalanche of disturbing revelations that arise, seemingly on a daily basis.
We begin with yet another report about the Fast and Furious gunrunning operation, courtesy of Sharyl Attkisson, one of the few remaining reporters who follows a story wherever it goes. Last Wednesday, three more F&F weapons turned up at crime scenes in Mexico. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry and as many as 300 Mexican nationals, including teens at a birthday party, were slaughtered by those weapons. Yet the ensuing investigation was first thwarted by Eric Holder’s refusal to turn over critical documents to congressional investigators, earning him a contempt of Congress citation. It was followed by President Obama invoking executive privilege to prevent the same. Other documents reveal that Eric Holder lied to Congress about when he first heard about the operation. The House Oversight Committee is currently suing for release of the material, but both Holder and Obama remain unscathed by this deadly debacle, even as the Terry family’s effort to find out what really happened to their son has been ignored.
Holder’s duplicity regarding Fast and Furious is hardly an anomaly. On March 1, 2011, Holder told Congress that ”decisions made in the New Black Panther Party (NBPP) case were made by career attorneys in the department.” It was subsequently revealed that an Obama appointee, Associate A.G. Thomas Perrelli, overruled a unanimous decision by DOJ attorneys who favored prosecuting NBPP members seen on videotape attempting to intimidate voters outside a Philadelphia polling station during the 2008 election.
Holder also “misled” Congress last June. “With regard to the potential prosecution of the press for the disclosure of material: that is not something I’ve ever been involved in, heard of or would think would be wise policy,” he said. Yet it was subsequently revealed that Holder personally signed off on a warrant to investigate Fox New reporter James Rosen, allowing the DOJ to search Rosen’s email and phone records, as well as those of his family members.
The DOJ also secretly seized the phone records of AP reporters and editors, claiming they only did so after making “every reasonable effort to obtain information through alternative means.” The timing of the investigation suggested the DOJ was looking into who leaked classified information about a plot to disrupt a second underwear bomber from blowing up a jetliner in Yemen. According to the New York Times, that was one of two leaks Holder was investigating “after a spate of disclosures about the bomb plot, cyberwarfare against Iran, Mr. Obama’s procedures for putting terrorism suspects on a ‘kill list,’ and the raid that killed Osama bin Laden.”
On Monday, the Washington Times offered the DOJ a big assist with regard to that second leak, revealing that “scores of State Department emails” show the Obama administration itself granted Times reporter David E. Sanger access to a series of high-level administration officials. Sanger then wrote a book about the American-Israeli effort to sabotage Iranian nuclear centrifuges with the Stuxnet virus.
As for the raid that killed Osama bin Laden, none other than Vice President Joe Biden revealed the involvement of SEAL Team 6 in that operation. Congress has announced an investigation into the subsequent deaths of 22 SEALs whose helicopter was shot down in Afghanistan in 2011. Part of that investigation will likely include the possibility that Biden’s shameless promotion of administration “toughness” may have made those SEALs targets. Additionally, misleading information provided by the Defense Department to family members of the slain SEALs indicates this scandal may be even bigger than Benghazi.
The ongoing investigation of the IRS’s targeting of conservative groups, which has expanded from “rogue agents” in Cincinnati all the way up to IRS Chief Counsel – one of two agency members appointed by the president – now enters its third month. It has also expanded beyond the IRS, as a series of previously undisclosed emails indicate the Federal Election Commission (FEC) may have been given taxpayer information in violation of federal law and the IRS regulations. Earlier this month House House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) announced he would subpoena IRS documents, because the agency was stonewalling investigators’ requests, exactly as the DOJ did in the Fast and Furious scandal.
With regard to these scandals and others, the administration’s water-carriers in the media, as well as the president himself, have attempted to dismiss them as “phony” or “unnecessary distractions.” This “what difference at this point does it make” attitude, exemplified by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, is part of a well-established strategy by an administration convinced the attention span of the public can be undermined by both the volume of scandals, and the time it takes to unravel each one. Thus, for example, the Washington Post’s August 15 revelation that the NSA “has broken privacy rules or overstepped its legal authority thousands of times each year since Congress granted the agency broad new powers in 2008″ overshadows the IRS scandal, which overshadows Navy SEAL scandal, which overshadows the Benghazi scandal, which overshadows Fast and Furious–all of which have been dismissed at one time or another as partisan witch hunts.
Yet even if one were to completely concede such a deplorable assertion, there is still no question whatsoever that administration officials have trampled on both the rule of law and the Constitution. Perhaps the most contemptible effort in that regard is President Obama’s transparently unconstitutional effort to suspend various parts of the Affordable Healthcare Act. How Americans feel about that piece of legislation is irrelevant. What’s relevant is that Congress passed the law, including the part that calls for its implementation beginning on Jan. 1, 2014, and the president signed it. There is no Constitutional way the president can simply choose to ignore sections of a law he doesn’t like, or go around Congress completely when they won’t kowtow to his agenda.
Yet that’s precisely what Obama and other administration officials have done. In 2012, the president unilaterally decreed that the same DREAM Act rejected by Congress 18 months earlier would be implemented for the children of illegal aliens. He also gutted part of the Welfare Reform Act of 1996, in clear violation of the statute. Obama is still ignoring a ruling by the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals and federal appeals courts in D.C. and Philadelphia, all of whom ruled his “recess” appointments to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) were unconstitutional.
And while the contempt for the law starts at the top, it is by no means limited to the president himself. On August 12, Eric Holder ordered his attorneys to stop seeking mandatory sentences in low-level drug cases, by deliberately withholding evidence regarding the amount of drugs involved. Holder is also suing the state of Texas to pre-clear its latest election law, in complete defiance of the recent Supreme Court ruling that stated Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act is “unconstitutional” and that “the formula can no longer be used as a basis for subjecting jurisdiction to preclearance.” He is also pursuing civil rights violations against George Zimmerman, absent a shred of evidence for doing so.
Treasury Secretary Jack Lew is also demonstrating contempt for the law. A Daily Treasury Statement dated July 26 revealed the federal debt had remained at approximately $16.7 trillion for 70 straight days, despite the reality that the federal deficit rose by $98 billion in July. If the debt had continued to increase, it would have topped the debt limit imposed by Congress. Lew characterizes his effort to circumvent Congress as “extraordinary measures.” Yet any American company engaging in similarly “extraordinary” accounting procedures would be targeted for prosecution.
Newly appointed EPA head Gina McCarthy is also comfortable bypassing the Legislative Branch of government. McCarthy announced on August 14 that the EPA will unilaterally enact rules to combat global warming, despite the reality that a bill to establish a cap-and-trade system was rejected by Congress in 2009 – when Democrats controlled both chambers of Congress.
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is being investigated by Congress for soliciting donations from health organizations to promote Obamacare. In May, Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) explained that such an effort might be yet another attempt to bypass Congress. “If she is raising money from private entities and coordinating with those entities to do something that Congress has refused to do, the Constitution doesn’t allow that and federal law makes it a criminal violation,” he told National Review.
Congress may have trouble getting to the truth. According to an Associated Press story published in June, Sebelius and a number of other administration officials have been using ”secret government email accounts they say are necessary to prevent their inboxes from being overwhelmed with unwanted messages.” Yet the AP further notes that, despite filing a Freedom of Information Act three months earlier, most agencies have failed to turn over such information, and that the Labor Department demanded more than $1 million for the account names. The AP pursued the story after it was discovered that former EPA head Lisa Jackson was conducting official business using a secret email account under the alias “Richard Windsor.”
And lest anyone think the practice may have been discontinued, the House Oversight Committee last Tuesday requested that IRS official Lois Lerner turn over emails sent to, or from, her personal “msn.com” account. “Through the course of the investigation, we have learned that you sent documents related to your official duties from your official IRS e-mail account to an msn.com e-mail account labeled ‘Lois Home,’” a letter sent to Lerner states. “This raises some serious questions concerning your use of a non-official e-mail account to conduct official business.”
So much for the self-professed “most transparent administration in history.”
All of the above suggests the Obama administration is guided by one over-riding imperative: we’ll do whatever we want, and we dare someone to stop us. Since the media are more a part of the problem than the solution, that burden falls on the Judicial Branch of government, or the Republican Party. As mentioned above, Eric Holder is already ignoring a Supreme Court ruling regarding voting rights, and Obama will ignore the ruling on his illegal NLRB appointees until the Supreme Court hears the case next term.
As for Republicans, investigations into the numerous administration scandals is ongoing, but best described as plodding. This is due in large part to the sheer volume of dubious activity they are tasked with investigating. But their reticence in certain areas, most notably House Speaker John Boehner’s (R-OH) refusal to appoint a Select Committee to investigate Benghazi, despite pressure from fellow Republicans, is deeply disturbing.
Yet their calculatingly reticent reaction to the president’s determination to ignore the law is beyond the pale. Perhaps the best encapsulation of the party’s unbearably pusillanimous attitude was expressed last week by Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) with regard to so-called comprehensive immigration reform. ”I believe that this president will be tempted, if nothing happens in Congress, he will be tempted to issue an executive order as he did for the DREAM Act kids a year ago, where he basically legalizes 11 million people by the sign of a pen,” Rubio said in an interview last Tuesday.
In other words, give Obama what he wants because he’ll take it anyway. It is precisely this kind of capitulation that has millions of Americans wondering if there is anything Republicans will do to throttle any aspect of this administration’s illegal behavior. It is not an exaggeration to say the fate of the nation may depend on the answer to that question.