House Resolution 411, Impeaching Eric H. Holder, Jr., Attorney General of the United States, for high crimes and misdemeanors
Here are some quick and off the cuff observations:
Whether one believes Holder is guilty or not guilty of the charges and sadly whether or not he is actually guilty cannot be determined for any of the high crimes and misdemeanors listed in the Resolution because of laws passed by Congress in some cases. In other cases, if one believes that a high crimes and misdemeanors did occur then those decisions would have to apply across the board and not be limited to a single individual.
1 ) Fast and Furious: Let’s just say Eric Holder is 100 percent guilty. Look up the Tiahrt Amendments which are “conveniently” attached to federal spending bills. Here’s a piece supporting the Tiahrt Amendments from the NRA-ILA earlier this year.
Congress in its partnership with the gun lobby created the legislation, attached it to must pass legislation, and essentially made it impossible for law enforcement agencies to enforce laws against illegal gun trafficking other than as minor paper violations. Possibly there is logic in destroying certain background check records within 24 hours. Possibly you may go and purchase either 5 handguns or 5 long guns on a daily basis for an extended period of time. Still if you ran any type of business, would you keep an inventory of what you have in stock and what items are selling? Because some of those guns might disappear or be stolen, however, with Tiahrt you are not required to keep inventory. How much sense does that make? No committee of Congress has the legal authority to seek or possess such records under a law passed by Congress and signed by the President.
2 ) To avoid a detailed account of things such as DOMA and the Anti-Drug Act of 1986, here’s a fundamental question to ask if you support impeachment on these charges. Do you want the federal government telling you what you can and cannot do? Sure they already do on a lot of matters. Despite what some argue, federal law trumps state law. Still, if those provisions named by Olson and cosponsors are impeachable, then you will have a real and not make-believe totalitarian state. Guilty or not, do you want total control by the federal government in all matters? We don’t currently live in that type of state although some already claim we do. If this is impeachable then every door is opened because what applies to one will apply to all.
From a tangible position, my question is does “enforcing a law” mean defending it in court or in actual violations of the law? I think that distinction is key especially in regard to the Defense of Marriage Act. At what point does US v. Windsor come into play or does it matter?
3 ) The IRS targeting of so-called conservative groups seeking tax exempt status. Did this extra scrutiny or targeting take place? Yes. My personal disgust, however, is that every group seeking tax exempt status does not receive the same scrutiny or targeting. Politics is not a freaking charity. Cancer research, children’s illness prevention, helping people following a disaster, doing volunteer service, and so on is giving back to the community. Those should be tax exempt. How is putting commercials on TV or pop ups on the internet telling me that Candidate X took a piss in the river while fishing is charitable or educational and should not be tax exempt? Also, I believe that you and I should know that the group who sponsored this ad is actually a single foreign businessman.
Personal opinions aside, the National taxpayer advocate submits reports to every Congress. Information concerning the complexity of the tax code, the dramatic increase of applications for tax exempt status, and the lack of resources to process each application individually has been repeatedly made to Congress. I would not classify it as impeachable, but Congress could be considered negligent in my opinion for knowing about the potential and failing to act to prevent such targeting.
For more with links to primary documents in the formation of my opinions please see: (listed in chronological order)
4 ) The charges dealing with the press, I don’t have the background to really comment. The reason I don’t have the background is that honestly I’m not really sure of what actually constitutes the press anymore. When the reporters make the story about themselves and not the actual events is that the press? When some receive multiyear, multimillion dollar contracts to criticize or poke fun at others without relaying any new information or offering any suggestions or at least opinions on how a better job can be done, is that the press?
More quick thoughts:
I think something like Fast and Furious would be an offense which would warrant impeachment under the actual definition of impeachment. Unfortunately, the laws both at the time and still existing prevent any prosecution or fact finding. Congress is actually tiptoeing around the laws as they are a lawmaking body and not a law enforcement body.
DOMA and the other federal laws cited in the resolution are really on a fine gray line. Officially, the laws should be enforced with federal law being superior to any state law. Still, I think that you have many 10th Amendment issues at play and with the specific charges cited do not feel that they should become the precedents for who knows how many cases if that door is ever opened. That would apply regardless of the Supreme Court ruling in US v. Windsor.
The IRS scandal to me should be about clarifying and hopefully simplifying the tax code. I have posts on the scandal with links to the primary reports. I got audited while working as a graduate teaching assistant which meant that I received tuition waivers, enough to pay rent on a 1 room addition to a shotgun structure built about the year 1900, and eat well whenever any of the grocery stores had sales on pork-n-beans, for serving as instructor of record for two course sections.
I filed a short form, took the standard deduction, and received a refund of under $50 and was still “singled out.” In the end, I kept my whopping refund, Uncle Sam kept what he had from my paychecks, and both the IRS workers and I wasted our time.
Agree or disagree with my opinions, does the following bring at least a degree of common accord?
I think that many individual taxpayers and small businesses endure just as much hardship and probably more than any of the organizations seeking 501 (c)(4) status in producing documents, deciphering code, waiting for hours on the phone or in line to get answers which change depending on with whom you speak, and I reckon if it is raining, snowing, or upsets during March Madness.
As to the press charges, I only remember some of the headlines concerning James Rosen and cannot comment without more research and information.
Historically, I would compare this impeachment resolution somewhat to that of President Andrew Johnson. Personally, I do not have a high opinion of Andrew Johnson’s presidency. Likewise, Eric Holder does not stand out to me as Attorney General either in an overall positive or negative.
All I can really say is that I believe that time would be better spent by the House by focusing attention on many of the root issues facing this country and developing workable plans in conjunction with the Senate to put legislation on the desk of the President instead of using all the time this resolution will demand. In the end, removing Holder or not will not affect what has taken place and what will continue to occur given the current laws and precedents established well before the Obama administration. Sincere attempts of promoting economic development, infrastructure repair, and too many issues to list would have an effect on both the present and future.