Archive for the ‘Fourth Amendment’ Category

It’s obvious that Gen. Jim Mattis was upset. It’s equally obvious that he wasn’t in touch with reality. In an op-ed, which I won’t link to, Gen. Mattis wrote “I have watched this week’s unfolding events, angry and appalled. The words ‘Equal Justice Under Law’ are carved in the pediment of the United States Supreme Court. This is precisely what protesters are rightly demanding. It is a wholesome and unifying demand—one that all of us should be able to get behind. We must not be distracted by a small number of lawbreakers. The protests are defined by tens of thousands of people of conscience who are insisting that we live up to our values—our values as people and our values as a nation. We must reject and hold accountable those in office who would make a mockery of our Constitution.”

What’s disgusting is that the police are protecting the protesters’ right to protest. Where politicians let them, the police have protected civilians, businesses and property. When idiots like Bill de Blasio, Andrew Cuomo, Jacob Frey and Tom Wolf have tied law enforcement’s hands, rioters have controlled this nation’s major cities after sunset.

Police officers were run over, shot in the head or murdered by rioters. Private property was demolished by the insurrectionists/terrorists. Minority businesses were burned to the ground after they were looted. Does Gen. Mattis think that we’d be better off letting these local officials make decisions that destroy minority neighborhoods while the liberal politicians give rioters room to riot?

Let’s not overlook Gen. Mattis’ statement about “those in office who would make a mockery of our Constitution.” Sending in military troops is constitutional. Article IV of he Constitution gives the commander-in-chief that authority. That isn’t making a “mockery of our Constitution.” That’s obeying the Constitution.

Mattis also wrote this:

Donald Trump is the first president in my lifetime who does not try to unite the American people—does not even pretend to try. Instead, he tries to divide us. We are witnessing the consequences of three years of this deliberate effort. We are witnessing the consequences of three years without mature leadership. We can unite without him, drawing on the strengths inherent in our civil society. This will not be easy, as the past few days have shown, but we owe it to our fellow citizens; to past generations that bled to defend our promise; and to our children.

With all due respect, Gen. Mattis, you’re relying on faulty intel. President Trump didn’t divide this nation. Antifa, Occupy Wall Street and other Democrat-aligned organizations have been dividing this nation for over 10 years. That’s a verified fact. According to this article, Antifa doesn’t hide its disgust for governance:

We spoke to secret Antifa groups in Oregon. They said they come from a variety of political backgrounds but they were united in their opposition to fascism, and they have an anti-government streak. They said they see creeping authoritarianism in the current American administration that they are looking to build “a movement that really insulates us from the policies of Donald Trump”.

That’s what division sounds like. Antifa/anarchist organizations have existed since the 1920s. That’s before President Trump was born.

It isn’t difficult to make the argument that the Obama administration abused the Constitution far more than the Trump administration has. Lois Lerner used the IRS to prevent TEA Party organizations from fully participating in the 2012 election. Lerner’s actions stripped these citizens of their First Amendment rights. The Obama FBI lied to the FISA Court to spy on Carter Page, thereby denying Page the Constitution’s Fourth Amendment rights.

In his op-ed, Gen. Mattis wrote this:

I swore an oath to support and defend the Constitution. Never did I dream that troops taking that same oath would be ordered under any circumstance to violate the Constitutional rights of their fellow citizens—much less to provide a bizarre photo op for the elected commander-in-chief, with military leadership standing alongside.

That’s sour grapes. Article IV, Section 4 of the Constitution says “The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government, and shall protect each of them against Invasion; and on Application of the Legislature, or of the Executive (when the Legislature cannot be convened) against domestic Violence.” President Trump isn’t overstepping his constitutional authorities. He’s thinking about exercising his constitutional authorities. To date, he hasn’t utilized the authority of Article IV, nor has he used the authority of the Insurrection Act of 1807.

President Trump let Gen. Mattis have it in this statement:

It’s time for Gen. Mattis to fully retire. It’s apparent that he isn’t a constitutional scholar. It’s apparent, too, that he didn’t figure it out that the commander-in-chief has an affirmative responsibility to protect the people of this nation.

Finally, would Gen. Mattis utilize the tactics and strategies that civilian Mattis is advocating for? I wouldn’t bet on it.

This CNN fake news article appears to be built more on wishful thinking than on reality. It says that “More than 82,000 Americans have died of coronavirus as of Tuesday. A top model now forecasts that 147,000 Americans will lose their lives by August. Millions are out of work. And the nation’s top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, is warning that reopening the country too early could have serious consequences. Which is all to say that the news is not good for President Trump. Death and despair threaten to swallow his reelection hopes. A Tuesday CNN poll found that most Americans (54%) believe the US gov’t is doing a poor job preventing the spread of the virus. And a majority (52%) still think the worst is on the horizon.”

That same poll showed President Trump leading in the battleground states by 7 points against VP Biden. Not in that poll is the fact that 2 Republicans won special elections Tuesday night. Mike Garcia won by 12 points in California. When Tom Tiffany won in Wisconsin’s 7th District by 14 points, Democrats insisted that represented a moral victory for Democrats because Trump won that district by 20 points in 2016. As Tiffany said, losing by 14 points isn’t a moral victory. This is rich:

Major news organizations are reflecting this grim reality with clear-eyed reporting, bold headlines, and historic front pages. So what is Trump, Fox News and the right-wing media machine doing? They’re constructing a separate alternate reality to keep their fans distracted from the news and outraged at the long-standing villains in the right-wing media universe. The general idea is that President Obama and others improperly used the levers of gov’t to conspire against Trump to win the 2016 election, with the “deep-state” later working to kneecap him when he was in office.

This isn’t an “alternate reality.” It’s just reality. The transcripts speak for themselves. Jim Clapper said under oath that he didn’t find “any direct empirical evidence” that President Trump or anyone in his campaign conspired with Russians. In fact, Fake News CNN and MSDNC haven’t talked much about the 63,000 pages of transcripts. Is that because those transcripts show that all 53 witnesses testified that they didn’t have any evidence of Trump-Russian collusion? Trey Gowdy said that he asked every witness that testified if they’d heard unsubstantiated rumors of Trump-Russia collusion. He even drew a blank on that. That’s what happens when political operatives attempt a coup against a duly elected president that the FBI hates. (Remember the Strzok-Page texts about the insurance policy.) These weren’t unbiased FBI agents. They were Democrat operatives. If you disagree, tell me the difference between Peter Strzok and Marie Harf.

This isn’t a wild conspiracy theory. The definition of theory is “a proposed explanation whose status is still conjectural and subject to experimentation, in contrast to well-established propositions that are regarded as reporting matters of actual fact.” These statements aren’t conjecture. They’re stated facts. Most importantly, they’re stated facts in a case where the Obama intel community improperly surveilled Carter Page and other Trump advisers.

When a government throws the rules out the window, which is what the Obama administration did, to surveil American citizens, it’s a huge deal. The Obama administration didn’t get a warrant to unmask Gen. Flynn. Surveilling American citizens without a warrant is a violation of that person’s Fourth Amendment rights. That isn’t a distraction. That’s a major crisis. Cases can get thrown out when the government violates a person’s civil rights. If a person isn’t read their Miranda Rights, all the information gathered from that interview is inadmissible.

That CNN thinks that violating Americans’ civil rights isn’t a big deal is disturbing. Then there’s this:

Over the past few days, they’ve started hyping the supposed scandal as if it really was, in fact, worse than Watergate. Coverage is all over Fox News’ programming, covered by both the supposed “straight news” anchors to the opinion commentators like Sean Hannity, Tucker Carlson, and Laura Ingraham. As WaPo’s Phillip Bump noted earlier this week, mentions of Michael Flynn, who plays a central role in all of this, have surpassed mentions of the coronavirus on Fox News in recent days.

The Wuhan Virus isn’t the threat to humanity that the press has insinuated. When a government improperly surveils the opposition party’s presidential candidate based on gossip, that’s a powder keg waiting to blow.

What does CNN think of the fact that the Obama administration surveilled Trump campaign advisers without proper predication? Would they scream bloody murder if that happened with Hillary instead of Trump?

If Adam Schiff isn’t worried, he isn’t getting good legal advice. Kim Strassel’s article highlights a multitude of crimes that Mr. Schiff might be prosecuted for. That’s the subject for others, though, so let’s unpack Ms. Strassel’s article.

In her article, she wrote “Mr. Schiff divulged the phone logs this week in his Ukraine report, thereby revealing details about the communications of Trump attorneys Jay Sekulow and Mr. Giuliani, ranking Intelligence Committee member Devin Nunes, reporter John Solomon and others.” A paragraph later, she continued, saying “If we’ve never had a scandal like this before, it’s in part because it is legally dubious. Federal law bars phone carriers from handing over records without an individual’s agreement. The statute makes some exceptions, including for federal and state law-enforcement agencies. But not for lawmakers. ‘There does not appear to be any basis to believe that a congressional committee is authorized to subpoena telephone records directly from a provider—as opposed to an individual,’ former Attorney General Michael Mukasey tells me.”

Members of Congress can’t access these phone logs because they fall outside the purview of their legislative responsibilities. For those saying that Schiff had additional authority thanks to impeachment, the reality is that Schiff requested these records a month before the House voted to initiate the impeachment inquiry. It was after Nancy Pelosi declared that they were starting the inquiry but that’s insignificant in the court’s eyes.

That’s because the Constitution gives the authority to “the House of Representatives.” Literally for decades, courts have ruled that the House hasn’t acted until it votes. Though Ms. Pelosi has frequently acted like a queen, it isn’t likely that a court will grant her queen status. It isn’t likely that a court will rule that a legislator, even a Speaker of the House, can unilaterally declare the start of impeachment.

The question is whether Mr. Schiff, in his zeal to bring down Mr. Trump, has made himself legally vulnerable. In Kilbourn v. Thompson (1881), the U.S. Supreme Court held that “a congressional investigation into individual affairs is invalid if unrelated to any legislative purpose.” Mr. Schiff might argue he has wider powers in an impeachment inquiry. But the House didn’t approve the inquiry until Oct. 31, a month after he issued his main AT&T subpoena.

Rep. Jim Banks wrote “It doesn’t take a constitutional lawyer to recognize that subpoenaing these call records violates the spirit of the Constitution’s Fourth Amendment, which prohibits unlawful searches and seizures.”

Schiff didn’t go to court to get these records. He submitted the request directly to AT&T. The reason why legitimate requests go through the courts is to have the courts supervise the process.

“The subpoenas aren’t related to legitimate congressional oversight,” says constitutional lawyer David Rivkin. Because there’s “no conceivable legislative purpose to obtaining these call logs and publicly disclosing this information, Mr. Schiff would not be able to benefit from the Speech and Debate Clause immunity that otherwise protects members of Congress from civil and criminal liability.” Mr. Rivkin adds that any of the targets could sue Mr. Schiff under state law for invasion of privacy or intentional infliction of emotional distress, and potentially even compel Mr. Schiff to turn over documents in discovery.

The other thing that should be considered is throwing Schiff out of the House for violating another congressman’s Fourth Amendment rights. Nobody is above the law, especially the chairmen of powerful committees.

Schiff’s actions are reprehensible. Ethics charges should be filed with the House Ethics Committee immediately against Chairman Schiff. If Democrats protect him against those charges, highlight which Democrats protected Schiff for his disgusting behavior in campaign ads. Let Democrats know that they’ll pay a steep price for protecting corrupt members of their party.

Adam Schiff hasn’t displayed the proper caution for his high-ranking position. He hasn’t been accurate with his statements or findings of facts. His accusations aren’t based on verified information. Simply put, he’s been reckless. That’s why he needs to be stopped permanently.

It’s time to expel Adam Schiff from Congress. Appearing on CBS’s Face The Nation, Schiff said “We want to make sure that we meet the needs of the investigation and not give the president or his legal minions the opportunity to tailor their testimony and in some cases fabricate testimony to suit their interests.”

I went to the transcript of Margaret Brennan’s interview of Chairman Schiff. Stating that Schiff is paranoid is understatement. Here’s what Schiff said:

REP. SCHIFF: the Republicans would like nothing better because they view their role as defending the president being the president’s lawyers. If witnesses could tailor their testimony to other witnesses. They would love for one witness to be able to hear what another witness says so that they can know what they can give away and what they can’t give away. There’s a reason why investigations and grand jury proceedings for example, and I think this is analogous to a grand jury proceeding, are done out of the public view initially. Now we may very well call some of the same witnesses or all the same witnesses in public hearings as well. But we want to make sure that we meet the needs of the investigation and not give the president or his legal minions the opportunity to tailor their testimony and in some cases fabricate testimony to suit their interests.

Actually, what’s upsetting is that this is the first impeachment inquiry in modern history where the president’s lawyers weren’t in the room during questioning. In fact, in the Nixon and Clinton impeachment hearings, the testimony was given in public. Further, the vote of the whole House stipulated that the President’s attorneys were allowed to cross-examine the House’s witnesses. Before anyone whines about how that that’s the Senate’s responsibility, it’s worth noting that the House allowed the President’s attorneys to cross-examine witnesses before the House voted on articles of impeachment.

This means that, for the first time in US history, the majority party states that part of their impeachment strategy is to violate the president’s due process rights. I can’t think of anything that’s more disgusting. This is a legitimate constitutional crisis. When a member of Congress states emphatically that his goal is to violate the President’s due process rights, that’s a huge problem. This is the oath that Chairman Schiff took less than a year ago:

I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God.

It’s impossible to support and defend the Constitution when you’ve stated that you want to deny people their constitutional rights. Further, in previous impeachment inquiries, the presidents’ attorneys were free to disseminate that day’s testimony to their client and the witnesses that they planned on calling, exposing Chairman Schiff’s statement as flimsy at best.

What Schiff didn’t mention is that Democrats don’t have the right to pick which constitutional rights they’ll enforce. Here’s the interview:

Equating a criminal grand jury with the impeachment of a president is ill-informed. A criminal grand jury investigation is an inquiry into whether a crime has been committed. In addition to investigating whether a crime has been committed, the impeachment of a president is the House’s step of negating an election. Later in the interview, Schiff states that he doesn’t want to give witnesses the opportunity “to fabricate testimony to suit their interests.”

That’s a highly provocative statement to make without something to substantiate that worry. Chairman Schiff’s statements, including the opening statement to the Maguire hearing that he fabricated, are disgusting.

Laurence Tribe’s op-ed about the King v. Burwell ruling is typical progressivism. It’s all about rationalizing a terrible, wrong-headed decision. Tribe made some statements that deserve rebutting. This is one of those statements:

The Supreme Court correctly applied standard interpretive methods in holding that, despite the apparent clarity of those four words, the law makes subsidies available on all exchanges, state and federal. Looking to the overall purpose, structure, and context of the Act, the court asked with incredulity why Congress would risk total implosion of the ACA just to encourage states to create their own exchanges especially when Congress itself provided the federal backstop.

When the words are clear, which they are, the test that Tribe mentioned isn’t applied. Typically, that test is only applied if the words are ambiguous. Chief Justice Roberts said that the 4 words were “inartful drafting.” Justice Scalia’s response was that it wasn’t likely that that inartful drafting would appear in the ACA’s language 7 different times.

As for whether Congress “would risk total implosion of the ACA just to encourage states to create their own exchanges”, the answer is yes. That’s why the federal government didn’t start building their website right away. Their plan — their concerted plan — was to pressure states into creating their own exchanges. Further, the IRS didn’t write its rule extending subsidies to people who bought their insurance through HealthCare.gov until it was clear that a substantial number of states weren’t going to create state-run exchanges.

Isn’t it curious that that clarification wasn’t the first thing mentioned in the rules? The instructions to the IRS weren’t written until late in the process. Why wasn’t it the first rule written? If the ACA’s success hinged on the subsidies, shouldn’t that have been the first rule written?

The people also won because the Roberts Court has given them a solid basis for trusting that hard-won victories in Congress will remain intact when challenged in the court. When it decides constitutional cases, like the much-anticipated same-sex marriage cases, the court’s role is to serve as a check on the people, ensuring that legislative or popular majorities don’t act in violation of the Constitution. This is the sense in which the court has famously been described as “counter-majoritarian.”

The Constitution was built to restrict what government isn’t authorized to do. That’s insanity. The Fourth Amendment wasn’t written to tell people what they couldn’t do. It was written to tell government what it can’t do. Specifically, the Fourth Amendment prohibits the government from conducting unreasonable searches against private citizens and publicly-traded companies.

The First Amendment prohibits Congress from writing laws that restrict people’s ability to speak out against politicians and government. It isn’t a check on people. It’s another check on government.

If Prof. Tribe can’t understand the most basic principles underpinning the Constitution, then his opinions on Supreme Court rulings is questionable.

It was just a matter of time before Rand Paul’s presidential ambitions came to a crashing halt. Rand Paul’s presidential campaign will all-but-officially end Sunday night. That’s when Sen. Paul will, in his words, “force the expiration of the Patriot Act“:

Rand Paul plans to force the expiration of the PATRIOT Act Sunday by refusing to allow Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to expedite debate on a key surveillance bill. In a statement to POLITICO Saturday, Paul warned that he would not consent to any efforts to pass either an extension of current law or the USA Freedom Act, a reform bill passed overwhelmingly by the House earlier this month.

When Sen. Paul forces that expiration, he will forever tie himself to his father’s national security policies. That will, in my opinion, end talk of his being a top tier presidential candidate. He’ll be as well-liked within the GOP as a leper at a hot tub party at the Playboy Mansion.

Here’s part of his statement to Politico:

“I have fought for several years now to end the illegal spying of the NSA on ordinary Americans. The callous use of general warrants and the disregard for the Bill of Rights must end. Forcing us to choose between our rights and our safety is a false choice and we are better than that as a nation and as a people. “That’s why two years ago, I sued the NSA. It’s why I proposed the Fourth Amendment Protection Act. It’s why I have been seeking for months to have a full, open and honest debate on this issue— a debate that never came. “So last week, seeing proponents of this illegal spying rushing toward a deadline to wholesale renew this unconstitutional power, I filibustered the bill. I spoke for over 10 hours to call attention to the vast expansion of the spy state and the corresponding erosion of our liberties.

“Then, last week, I further blocked the extension of these powers and the Senate adjourned for recess rather than stay and debate them. “Tomorrow, we will come back with just hours left before the NSA illegal spying powers expire. “Let me be clear: I acknowledge the need for a robust intelligence agency and for a vigilant national security.

Let’s be clear about something. The NSA isn’t spying on “ordinary Americans.” Sen. Paul knows that there isn’t any “illegal spying” happening. Sen. Paul knows that but he’s still peddling that storyline because he’s a dishonest politician.

Come Monday, Charles Krauthammer will eviscerate him with verified facts, legal precedents and irrefutable logic. When Charles stops wielding his political scalpel, Sen. Paul will be reduced to a puddle of political blood. There’s nothing that will endear him to Republican voters. He’s tapping into his father’s base but that isn’t much more than a sliver group on the outer fringe of the outer fringe.

By forcing the “expiration of the Patriot Act”, he will have done the impossible. Sen. Paul will have moved to the left of everyone with the exception of Bernie Sanders. Couple this ill-advised PR stunt with his idiotic statement that “Republican hawks” caused the rise of ISIS and you’ve got a presidential candidate that only CODEPINK and the ACLU would love. Those voters aren’t that plentiful in the GOP.

Goodbye Rand. You’re as nutty as your father. PS- Good riddance, too.

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When I first read David French’s article, my first reaction was that John T. Chisholm, the Milwaukee County District Attorney, should be disbarred, then tried and convicted, then thrown into prison for a very long time. Chisholm is a progressive political hack with a mission to destroy the conservative movement in Wisconsin:

Cindy Archer, one of the lead architects of Wisconsin’s Act 10 — also called the “Wisconsin Budget Repair Bill,” it limited public-employee benefits and altered collective-bargaining rules for public-employee unions — was jolted awake by yelling, loud pounding at the door, and her dogs’ frantic barking. The entire house — the windows and walls — was shaking. She looked outside to see up to a dozen police officers, yelling to open the door. They were carrying a battering ram.

She wasn’t dressed, but she started to run toward the door, her body in full view of the police. Some yelled at her to grab some clothes, others yelled for her to open the door. “I was so afraid,” she says. “I did not know what to do.” She grabbed some clothes, opened the door, and dressed right in front of the police. The dogs were still frantic. “I begged and begged, ‘Please don’t shoot my dogs, please don’t shoot my dogs, just don’t shoot my dogs.’ I couldn’t get them to stop barking, and I couldn’t get them outside quick enough. I saw a gun and barking dogs. I was scared and knew this was a bad mix.”

She got the dogs safely out of the house, just as multiple armed agents rushed inside. Some even barged into the bathroom, where her partner was in the shower. The officer or agent in charge demanded that Cindy sit on the couch, but she wanted to get up and get a cup of coffee. “I told him this was my house and I could do what I wanted.” Wrong thing to say. “This made the agent in charge furious. He towered over me with his finger in my face and yelled like a drill sergeant that I either do it his way or he would handcuff me.”

Last night, Megyn Kelly interviewed David French. Here’s the video of the interview:

Here’s the most chilling exchange of the interview:

MEGYN: Who was the judge that signed off on these subpoenas?
DAVID FRENCH: The judge’s name is Barbara Kluka, I believe is how you pronounce her name. She signed off on hundreds of pages of subpoenas in literally one afternoon of work. It was a rubberstamp process. It was not true judicial oversight and the result has been catastrophic to citizens’ rights.

French’s statement might be the understatement of the year. The things that are alleged, if they’re proven in a court of law, should be grounds for termination of the police officers and the disbarment of the judge and the district attorney.

The policeman (policemen?) who ordered Ms. Archer that she couldn’t speak with a lawyer and that she couldn’t speak about the police officers’ actions violated Ms. Archer’s constitutional right to an attorney. Saying that she couldn’t speak about the raid essentially amounts to putting a gag order on Ms. Archer. I’m no lawyer but aren’t gag orders meant to preserve the right to a fair trial?

In this instance, the purpose of the gag order was to protect these thugs’ secrecy. The only people that benefited were the thugs with badges.

This isn’t just about prosecutorial or judicial misconduct. It’s about how the Democratic Party weaponized the district attorney’s office and the Milwaukee police force to intimidate conservatives from speaking about the issues that matter most to them. That’s the heart of the First Amendment’s protections.

Finally, this is the face of pure evil. These Democrats should be destroyed politically. They should all spend years in prison doing hard time. Silencing people who just wanted to support a political issue is despicable.

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Recently, the Virginia City Council adopted the International Property Maintenance Code. I hope that Cate Stark’s LTE wakes people up to this totalitarian form of government. This is frightening:

If you are found in violation of the 90-page International Property Maintenance Code with hundreds of rules, you can be cited. You will go before the magistrate. You will pay a fine, legal fees and court costs. If you cannot pay these, you can go to jail. If you have not fixed what they cited you for, they will send you the bill. If you cannot pay it, they put a lien on your house. If you cannot pay the lien, they can sell your house!

This code is arbitrary and can be subjectively enforced. It unfairly affects those who have the least money to keep a house in great condition.

What’s most frightening is that that isn’t the most frightening part. This is:

This is an invasive ordinance stating that the code enforcement officer or employee has the right to enter any premises for the purpose of making an inspection at any reasonable time in pursuance of such duties without warrants. This invasive ordinance encourages the code officer or employee to get the authorities if you don’t let him in.

Cate Starks is right that the IPMC is unconstitutional because the Fourth Amendment prevents this type of government intrusion. Here’s one other totally objectionable part of the IPMC:

Section 308.1, infestation — “all structures shall be kept free from rodent and insect infestation. If infestation is found it will be followed up with extermination. The penalty for violation is: Guilty of a misdemeanor. Upon conviction they shall be fined up to the maximum amount allowed by state law or imprisoned up to 30 days in jail. Each day such violation continues shall constitute a separate offense. So 30 days = 30 penalties.”

I’m hoping that the first person whose house is entered by the inspector without a warrant files a lawsuit against that inspector and the City of Virginia. I’m betting that the ACLJ would accept such a case and make an example of this unconstitutional ordinance.

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Apparently, the IRS thinks that the Fourth Amendment doesn’t apply to them. That’s just another reason why people hate and fear the IRS. This NYTimes article should give people additional ammunition for fearing the IRS:

For almost 40 years, Carole Hinders has dished out Mexican specialties at her modest cash-only restaurant. For just as long, she deposited the earnings at a small bank branch a block away — until last year, when two tax agents knocked on her door and informed her that they had seized her checking account, almost $33,000.

The Internal Revenue Service agents did not accuse Ms. Hinders of money laundering or cheating on her taxes; in fact, she has not been charged with any crime. Instead, the money was seized solely because she had deposited less than $10,000 at a time, which they viewed as an attempt to avoid triggering a required government report.

Here’s the text of the Fourth Amendment:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Not only did the IRS not get a real search warrant, they’ve never accused Ms. Hinders of wrongdoing. Still, the IRS is feeling magnanimous:

On Thursday, in response to questions from The New York Times, the I.R.S. announced that it would curtail the practice, focusing instead on cases where the money is believed to have been acquired illegally or seizure is deemed justified by “exceptional circumstances.”

Richard Weber, the chief of Criminal Investigation at the I.R.S., said in a written statement, “This policy update will ensure that C.I. continues to focus our limited investigative resources on identifying and investigating violations within our jurisdiction that closely align with C.I.’s mission and key priorities.” He added that making deposits under $10,000 to evade reporting requirements, called structuring, is still a crime whether the money is from legal or illegal sources. The new policy will not apply to past seizures.

This isn’t about updating policies. It’s about the IRS violating Ms. Hinders’ Fourth Amendment rights. The IRS seized Ms. Hinders’ bank account. If that doesn’t fit the definition of an unreasonable seizure, nothing fits that description.

The practice has swept up dairy farmers in Maryland, an Army sergeant in Virginia saving for his children’s college education and Ms. Hinders, 67, who has borrowed money, strained her credit cards and taken out a second mortgage to keep her restaurant going.

Their money was seized under an increasingly controversial area of law known as civil asset forfeiture, which allows law enforcement agents to take property they suspect of being tied to crime even if no criminal charges are filed. Law enforcement agencies get to keep a share of whatever is forfeited.

The IRS has treated citizens, including military personnel, like they were street thugs. That shouldn’t be possible in America. That’s the type of thing that you’d expect in a Third World dictatorship, not from the US government.

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I’ve believed that John Chisholm, the Milwaukee County District Attorney, was a vindictive partisan prosecutor long before George Will wrote this column. Will’s column chief contribution is that it focuses attention on several key points that should receive additional highlighting. Here’s one such point:

The early-morning paramilitary-style raids on citizens’ homes were conducted by law enforcement officers, sometimes wearing bulletproof vests and lugging battering rams, pounding on doors and issuing threats. Spouses were separated as the police seized computers, including those of children still in pajamas. Clothes drawers, including the children’s, were ransacked, cellphones were confiscated and the citizens were told that it would be a crime to tell anyone of the raids.

Some raids were precursors of, others were parts of, the nastiest episode of this unlovely political season, an episode that has occurred in an unlikely place. This attempted criminalization of politics to silence people occupying just one portion of the political spectrum has happened in Wisconsin, which often has conducted robust political arguments with Midwestern civility.

That’s what the threats and intimidation wing of the Democratic Party looks like. John Chisholm is a thug with institutionalized authority to ruin innocent people’s lives. He’s the ‘leader’ of the Wisconsin chapter of the Democratic Party’s threats and intimidation wing.

In collaboration with Wisconsin’s misbegotten Government Accountability Board, which exists to regulate political speech, Chisholm has misinterpreted Wisconsin campaign law in a way that looks willful. He has done so to justify a “John Doe” process that has searched for evidence of “coordination” between Walker’s campaign and conservative issue advocacy groups.

On Oct. 14, much too late in the campaign season to rescue the political-participation rights of conservative groups, a federal judge affirmed what Chisholm surely has known all along: Since a U.S. Supreme Court ruling 38 years ago, the only coordination that is forbidden is between candidates and independent groups that go beyond issue advocacy to “express advocacy”, explicitly advocating the election or defeat of a particular candidate.

Why Wisconsin ever passed these John Doe laws is inexplicable. It’s authority to start a fishing expedition, something that’s contrary to the principles of probable cause and the Fourth Amendment’s protections against unreasonable searches and seizures. Chisholm’s goal might’ve already been achieved:

But Chisholm’s aim, to have a chilling effect on conservative speech, has been achieved by bombarding Walker supporters with raids and subpoenas: Instead of raising money to disseminate their political speech, conservative individuals and groups, harassed and intimidated, have gone into a defensive crouch, raising little money and spending much money on defensive litigation. Liberal groups have not been targeted for their activities that are indistinguishable from those of their conservative counterparts.

I’ve written before about weaponized government. Chisholm’s investigation (I hate using that term in this context) fits that description perfectly. It’s the personification of weaponized government.

It’s worth noting this sentence:

Liberal groups have not been targeted for their activities that are indistinguishable from those of their conservative counterparts.

I’ve seen nasty forms of weaponized government but this is the nastiest form of it. Law enforcement officials participating in this should be investigated, too. Their actions furthered this unconstitutional exercise of abusive government. Hans Spakovsky’s op-ed nails it:

Oral arguments were heard Tuesday before the 7th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in O’Keefe vs. Chisholm, the so-called John Doe investigation in which local prosecutors in Wisconsin tried to criminalize political speech and activity on public issues. The 7th Circuit should uphold the lower court decision halting this Star Chamber investigation that violated basic First Amendment rights.

The fact that such a secret persecution of citizen advocacy organizations even occurred ought to be an embarrassment to a state that prides itself on being a progressive bastion of individual freedom. It is more reminiscent of a banana republic than the world’s foremost democracy.

Chisholm should be disbarred for intentionally violating private citizens’ civil rights. Then he should be tried and, hopefully, be convicted, then incarcerated for many years. He’s a nasty person helping the Democratic Party chill political speech. Saying that his actions are intimidating and that his tactics are the type that would be approved of by Joe McCarthy is understatement.

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