Subsidizing official misbehavior

It must be nice to be able to flaunt the law and get somebody else to pay for it:

Ms. Lerner and Ms. Paz gave taped depositions in a class-action lawsuit brought by tea party groups demanding answers and compensation for having been subjected to illegal targeting ((by the IRS)) for their political beliefs.

The government settled the class-action lawsuit in Ohio and another tea party challenge in the District of Columbia in two agreements last month, admitting to the illegal behavior. The Ohio settlement also called for the government to pay $3.5 million to the tea party groups, according to one of the plaintiffs.

Now, where does the government get $3.5 million?  That’s right: your wallet and mine. This practice of making Joe Taxpayer pay for Johnny Government’s misdeeds is not unique to the IRS debacle, either:

Democratic Rep. Jackie Speier of Hillsborough said Wednesday that over the last 20 years, Congress has settled 260 complaints of workplace discrimination “at a cost to taxpayers of this country of $15 million,” reiterating a figure she quoted on NBC Tuesday. But it’s unclear how many of those complaints were related to sexual harassment, versus racial or other forms of discrimination, because Congress doesn’t release that information, nor is it subject to Freedom of Information Act requests.

Got that?  You and I are paying for the government to break its own rules, and those rules have been arranged so that we can learn nothing of the details.  This is the same Congress, incidentally, that has been preening morally about how “wrong” it would be for Alabama to elect Roy Moore to the Senate, since he’s been accused of misconduct. But the last I looked, Moore continues to deny the allegations and he has never paid out a settlement to shut somebody up.

These elected officials dodge the financial bullet for their misconduct under the concept of “official immunity,” which is a gross abuse of the public trust.  Official immunity is meant to protect public workers in the performance of their duties.  For instance, a military physician cannot be sued by a servicemember because the physician performed an amputation in a war zone.  This recognizes that even in the honestperformance of official duties, some injury may occur.

But what we’re seeing here is not a pattern of honest service.  Far from it.  Official immunity is instead being used to offload the penalty of malfeasance to the taxpayers — and that is an injustice of the highest order.

Lois Lerner and Holly Paz are also asking that their testimonies in the IRS mess be sealed permanently.  In other words, they want the taxpayers to be denied still more information about why they’re being bilked for these settlements.  They claim they fear the public’s wrath, should their testimonies be released.

GOOD.  It’s time the government came to fear the citizens again.  Fear is a powerful deterrent, and right now there doesn’t seem to be much deterring our ruling class from doing whatever the hell they want… and making US pay for it.  When the legal system is perverted to obstruct justice, as it has been with “official immunity” and the concealment of what should be public information, the system loses its legitimacy — and the people lose their patience.

It’s probably time to invest in some torches and pitchforks.  We’ve reached the point where instilling fear is about the only recourse we have left to reign in our out-of-control criminal ruling class.

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