Clean­ing up the swamp

Cour­tesy of Obama over­reach, swamp crea­tures con­tinue to roam and bite

The Washington Times Daily - - OPINION - By Robert Knight Robert Knight is a se­nior fel­low for the Amer­i­can Civil Rights Union.

Less than three months into the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion, the grand bat­tle over the size, scope and pur­pose of the fed­eral gov­ern­ment is be­gin­ning. The seat­ing of As­so­ciate Jus­tice Neil Gor­such will re­turn the U.S. Supreme Court to a full com­ple­ment and, it is hoped, re­spect for con­sti­tu­tional lim­i­ta­tions on power — in­clud­ing its own.

In the ex­ec­u­tive agen­cies, newly seated di­rec­tors need to wield their own ver­sions of the nu­clear op­tion to undo what eight years of Oba­man­ista rule in­flicted on the na­tion.

Since tax week is around the cor­ner, let’s start with the In­ter­nal Rev­enue Ser­vice. Caught red-handed per­se­cut­ing tea par­ties and other con­ser­va­tive non­prof­its in or­der to aid Pres­i­dent Obama’s re-elec­tion in 2012, IRS of­fi­cials have yet to face any jus­tice.

Lois Lerner, head of the di­vi­sion that did the dirty deeds, has re­tired with full pen­sion. John Kosk­i­nen, a ma­jor Demo­cratic donor on whose watch thou­sands of Ms. Lerner’s emails mys­te­ri­ously van­ished, is still IRS com­mis­sioner. Some­thing needs to give here.

The IRS is long over­due for a house­clean­ing. Thou­sands of IRS em­ploy­ees who cheated on their own taxes were given a pass. Con­ser­va­tive groups and in­di­vid­u­als were sin­gled out for au­dits.

A new in­spec­tor gen­eral’s re­port has found that the IRS rou­tinely seized mil­lions of dol­lars from le­git­i­mate busi­nesses be­tween 2012 and 2015 sim­ply based on the busi­ness peo­ple’s prac­tice of mak­ing bank de­posits of less than $10,000 to avoid oner­ous pa­per­work. This guilty-un­til-proven-in­no­cent scheme of the IRS vic­tim­ized count­less small busi­ness peo­ple, some of whom didn’t re­cover what was seized even af­ter be­ing cleared of any crim­i­nal ac­tiv­ity.

A ran­dom sam­ple of 276 for­fei­ture cases found that 91 per­cent of the busi­nesses had made their money legally. The only trig­ger was the amount of the de­posits. Even more damn­ing, the re­port said that agents pre­ferred to tar­get hap­less busi­ness own­ers be­cause these “quick hits” were eas­ier than go­ing af­ter real crim­i­nals.

Now, doesn’t that make you feel warm and fuzzy about your own gov­ern­ment? The Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion needs to rein in this most dan­ger­ous of rogue agen­cies.

At the En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Agency, ruth­less Oba­macrats abused var­i­ous fed­eral laws such as the Clean Air Act and Clean Wa­ter Act to ad­vance a green agenda while sub­si­diz­ing green cronies who re­turned the fa­vor with heavy do­na­tions to

Demo­crat cof­fers. They also con­ducted hu­man ex­per­i­ments with al­legedly deadly pol­lu­tants, and ha­rassed count­less Amer­i­cans who ran afoul of their con­stantly chang­ing guide­lines.

On Feb. 28, Pres­i­dent

Trump signed an ex­ec­u­tive or­der di­rect­ing the EPA to re­view its reg­u­la­tions, which should help end such abuses. He also has moved to re­v­erse puni­tive reg­u­la­tions such as the Clean Power Plan that Oba­macrats is­sued pre­cisely to put the coal in­dus­try out of busi­ness. The idea is not to free up pol­luters. The laws en­acted decades ago have done much to clean up our air and water­ways. The Trump or­ders’ in­tent is to pro­tect in­no­cent landown­ers from what amounts to tak­ing of their prop­erty with­out due process and to un­shackle Amer­ica’s en­ergy and man­u­fac­tur­ing in­dus­tries from ex­ces­sive reg­u­la­tion.

One of the big­gest house-clean­ings is due at the Jus­tice De­part­ment, which Eric H. Holder

Jr. had turned into a par­ti­san, racially-mo­ti­vated bully.

At­tor­ney Gen­eral Jeff Ses­sions be­gan smartly by ask­ing for the res­ig­na­tions of all re­main­ing U.S. at­tor­neys ap­pointed by Mr. Obama. Now he needs to fer­ret out the agency’s left­wing moles.

In late March, 25 civil rights at­tor­neys, or­ga­ni­za­tion lead­ers, au­thors and Kansas Sec­re­tary of State Kris Kobach sent a letter to Mr. Ses­sions im­plor­ing him to clean up the Civil Rights Di­vi­sion and the Vot­ing Sec­tion in par­tic­u­lar.

“Dur­ing the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion, the Di­vi­sion served purely ide­o­log­i­cal ends,” the letter said. Many of the abuses came un­der Thomas E. Perez, who now chairs the Demo­cratic Na­tional Com­mit­tee.

To end “par­ti­san games­man­ship,” the letter of­fers these re­forms: re­turn­ing to “race-neu­tral Vot­ing Rights Act en­force­ment that seeks to block dis­crim­i­na­tory poli­cies and pro­ce­dures based on demon­stra­ble im­pacts rather than mere sta­tis­ti­cal anal­y­sis”; to stop op­pos­ing state photo voter ID laws, cit­i­zen­ship ver­i­fi­ca­tion in voter reg­is­tra­tion, and “com­mon-sense ad­just­ments to early vot­ing pe­ri­ods”; to pros­e­cute voter in­tim­i­da­tion and to en­force Sec­tion 8 of the Na­tional Voter Reg­is­tra­tion Act re­quir­ing ac­cu­rate voter rolls.

In short, this means turn­ing the Jus­tice De­part­ment back into a non-par­ti­san, chief en­forcer of the na­tion’s laws.

None of this will be easy. Deep State Obama left­overs will do their best to dis­pense “shock­ing” leaks to their me­dia al­lies that will elicit mob ac­tion in the streets. The sky will al­ways be fall­ing.

The Trump team needs to in­sert earplugs, tune out much of the me­dia, and put the pedal to the metal.

One of the big­gest house­clean­ings is due at the Jus­tice De­part­ment.

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