All across the country, people are getting notices that their bank accounts are being closed. Why? Even though the account holders have perfectly legal jobs, the Department of Justice does not like what they do for a living. Sometimes I wonder if I am living in the old iron-curtain Soviet Union, instead of the land of the free!
According to a recent USA Today report, this latest abuse of power by the DOJ is a program called "Operation Choke Point", under which the DOJ came up with a list of businesses and industries that it could not shut down legally, such as ammunition sales, coin dealers, adult entertainment/porn, and payday loans. Then, the totalitarian DOJ reportedly pressured banks to close out the bank accounts of participants in those targeted industries. The banks, likely fearing similar harassment from the DOJ if they didn’t comply, probably decided to just go along to stay out of trouble. That is not progressive, it is tyranny, as programs like this one are implemented without our elected representatives even being advised or consulted, giving “We the People” no seat at the table. As John Heyward has noted so brilliantly: “It boils down to a permanent Ruling Class in bureaucracy and the media deciding what’s good for us… and targeting what is bad for us, without the sort of public debate and legislative action a free republic deserves.”
In case you are missing it, there is a quiet, massive shift of power into the hands of just a few people in Washington, most being non-elected bureaucrats like Attorney General Eric Holder and Lois Lerner at the IRS. These unelected bureaucrats are not only grabbing power from state and local governments, but even worse, they are seizing precious constitutional rights from the individual. Do you really believe you have freedom of speech? Technically you do, but the long list of recent scandals, especially the IRS targeting of conservative groups, demonstrates that some of the new power brokers are willing to abuse that power to come after you if you disagree with their political views. Do you really think it is a coincidence that the DOJ recently indicted Dinesh D’Souza, the conservative author and filmmaker (whose works include the film 2016: Obama’s America, a very unflattering portrayal of President Obama), for a very minor campaign contribution violation discovered well after the November 2012 election in question, in which his supported candidate lost by a landslide? The government claims it “discovered” the violation in a “routine” post-election audit by the FBI of Federal Election Commission filings. Meanwhile, good luck getting the DOJ to prosecute anyone for violating our nation’s immigration laws. I guess maybe the DOJ might prosecute someone if he is wearing a “Ted Cruz 2016” button crossing the border.
Are you willing to just blindly accept that some unelected official in the IRS or DOJ is going to make a list of people to hassle, where they haven’t even broken a law, just because the bureaucrat disagrees with their politics or point of view? If you are not outraged by the federal government abusing its power in such a disgusting manner, in scandal after scandal, then, if and when you become their target, you will primarily have yourself to blame. Now is the time to take a stand by asking your representatives in Congress to add this latest DOJ abuse of power to its growing list of investigations. When we trust our own people to govern us, and they abuse that power, they must be held accountable.
Dave Beltrami is a lawyer and political analyst living in Atlanta, Georgia. He received his Juris Doctor and Master of Laws (Taxation) degrees from the Georgetown University Law Center in Washington, D.C