One of America's leading authorities on technology and telecom policy, Motley is a writer, television and radio commentator, political and policy strategist, lecturer, debater, activist, and policy advisor to The Heartland Institute.
Latest posts by Seton Motley (see all)
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Remember the Barack Obama Administration’s Internal Revenue Service (IRS) scandal? The media really wish you wouldn’t, which is why they never really reported on it while it occurred. And, in many ways, the IRS scandal continued well past its initial exposition date.
Here’s a (re)fresher:
IRS Targeting Scheme is a Scandal with No End in Sight: “When the Senate Finance Committee released its findings on the Internal Revenue Service scheme targeting conservative organizations a couple of weeks ago, the initial determination was clear….
“(T)he evidence shows partisan political animus resulted in the unwarranted targeting of conservative groups because of their political beliefs….
“(Top IRS official Lois) Lerner called Republican critics ‘evil and dishonest’ – even ‘hateful.’
She lashed out following an appearance before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee in 2014: ‘Yesterday was a doozy. They called me back to testify on the IRS “scandal,” and I tool (sic) the 5th again because they had been so evil and dishonest in my lawyer’s dealings with them….’”
This was weaponizing government in a way of which Richard Nixon or any other president never even dreamed. But this was just one of myriad ways the Obama Administration turned the very many arms of the Leviathan against we less government types – and/or in favor of their big government political cronies.
When Obama said “We’re going to punish our enemies and reward our friends” – it was an administration manifesto.
And the examples of Obama turning government against half the citizenry continue to roll out – even after his administration has oh-so-thankfully ended.
We recently wrote of the fake democracy and staggering stupidity of the bureaucracy power grab “Comment Period.” Where an Executive Branch agency pretends to be the Legislative Branch – by writing laws rather than executing them:
“To make these power grabs appear less power grabby, the agencies have devised the rule-making process – during which they have ‘Comment Periods.….Except we didn’t elect these bureaucrats – so we can’t un-elect them. So it is decidedly unlikely that they care a whit what we think….So no matter what happens during the fake democracy ‘Comment Periods’ – they’re going to do what regulators do.”
And in the Obama Administration, what regulators did – was punish enemies and reward friends. If the following sounds an awful lot like the Obama IRS scandal – that’s only because it is an awful lot like the Obama IRS scandal.
Obama-Era FCC Caught Red-Handed Giving Preferential Treatment To Liberal Groups: “A high-level employee at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in 2014 appeared to give leaders of liberal-leaning groups preferential treatment for posting and publicizing comments on the agency’s public forum for the net neutrality debate.
“The FCC hosted a period in 2014 where anyone could submit feedback on so-called net neutrality…The FCC at the time invited people to publish their thoughts about net neutrality on the public filing system in an attempt to have the rule-making process for internet regulation as democratic as possible. But how democratic and equal that process was can now be called into question.
“Gigi Sohn, a top counselor to then-FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, responded (to Leftist groups) using her official agency email address.
“‘Thanks so much to all of you for your efforts,’ Sohn wrote. ‘We’ll do our best and keep our fingers crossed too! I’ll be out of town tomorrow, but will be checking emails,and (sic) (presumably FCC staffers) David and Sagar will be at your service.”
Sohn not only provided assistance for technical issues, but also publicized the (Leftist) advocacy groups’ purportedly authentic numbers.
“‘Just a note that we’ve got 500k or so more comments that were held up by server issues today. It would be great if you could pass press on to us for the real number,’ (Leftist group ‘Fight for the Future’ founder Holmes) Wilson said in an email.
“‘Can you tweet from @fcc early today, something like: “The FCC server has had problems with the large number of comments, so the number on the docket website is not the official number. We’ll have an official number soon,”’ Wilson asked in a separate email dated September 11th, 2014, at around 10:26 a.m. (Eastern Standard Time).
Then-FCC spokesman Kim Hart – happily did so:
“(L)eaders of…right leaning organizations, like (Mike) Wendy (of Media Freedom) and Phil Kerpen of the advocacy group American Commitment, said they were barely even able to get their foot in the door.
“‘Our team got some help from low-level FCC employees who kind of answered the phone the way anyone just calling in would,’ Kerpen explained. ‘But we certainly didn’t get any kind of high-level assistance from high-level staffers managing media requests and helping to shape a narrative.’”
“Kerpen believes that the level of service and assistance was ‘completely one-sided’ because the FCC wanted to ‘help them reach the predetermined outcome of their process.’
“What upsets Kerpen and Wendy even more is that the FCC isn’t supposed to be political. Rather, it is to be an independent expert agency that makes decisions based on data, facts, economics and the law. Since specific staff members at the FCC, like Sohn, essentially bended over backwards to help one side but failed to help others with different political views, they believe the agency rendered itself partial and subservient.”
Yes, the Obama era is finally, thankfully over. But the lessons to draw therefrom – are many. But a few:
Government can and will be weaponized. And when it is – it will be done to advantage anyone who wants to grow government, and against anyone who does not.
The unelected Executive Branch agencies are far more formidable weapons than our elected Legislative Branch. Because bureaucrats are accountable to…no one – save for their weaponizing President.
These ridiculous “Comment Periods” – are completely ridiculous. As are any moves by the Executive to behave like the Legislative.
Law-writing should be left…to the elected, accountable Legislative. To minimize the ability of obnoxious government officials weaponizing the government against We the People.
Let us please keep all of this in mind going forward.
[Originally Published at RedState]