Wall Street Journal columnist Bill McGurn points out something even more troubling in the Clinton email scandal than the candidate's prevarications: the civil service let her do it.
No one in government stopped Mrs. Clinton, though there was a risk to classified information, public records were lost to the public, and the scheme hid the Clinton Foundation's cozy relationship with the Clinton State Department.
When two IT officers said in 2010 that they were concerned that Clinton's email system was not preserving public records, they were told “never to speak of the Secretary’s personal email system again.” McGurn notes that it wasn't because of a functioning civil service that the public finally learned of the private system but because of a hacker.
A functioning civil service would not have alowed this to happen. An IG report makes it clear that Mrs. Clinton simply refused to be questioned about a system that should never have been set up and was obviously doing something other than preventing the public from knowing about Mrs. Clinton's yoga lessons (does Mrs. Clinton actually do yoga?). And yet the civil service didn't force her to answer questions.
It gets worse. Even today her former department is still resisting efforts to make public the emails she tried to hide. Groups such as Judicial Watch have done yeoman’s work in forcing the emails into the sunlight—but they have also had to get court orders to pry them out of an obstructionist State Department.
It’s a disturbing pattern, and unfortunately it’s not limited to State. There have been similar questions about the integrity and professionalism of the IRS ever since the American people learned in 2013 that it was unfairly targeting conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status.
Three years, many congressional hearings and disappearing hard drives later, there is still no evidence the IRS has ended the practice. Just last month, a three-judge panel of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals described the IRS approach to its targets this way: “You’re alright for now, but there may be another shoe falling.” This follows on a March ruling from the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, which blasted the IRS for refusing to produce a list of those it had targeted—as well as for its bad faith in defending itself by invoking a rule meant to “protect taxpayers from the IRS, not the IRS from taxpayers.”
Originally the speculation was that the IRS effort had been orchestrated by the Obama administration. As the Journal’s James Taranto noted at the time, the IRS scandal is worse if it was not directed by the White House. “If it ‘went rogue’ against the Constitution and in support of the party in power,” he wrote, “then we are dealing with a cancer on the federal government.”
Now consider the FBI. Its director is appointed to a 10-year term precisely to remove him from political pressures.
In our criminal-justice system, the bureau’s job is to investigate, while the decision to indict belongs to the Justice Department. In other words, whether to indict Mrs. Clinton was Attorney General Loretta Lynch’s responsibility, and she would have to take the heat whichever way she decided.
Until FBI director Jim Comey intervened with a press conference in which he announced he was recommending against indictment. By going public in a way even he admitted was “unusual,” Mr. Comey effectively pre-empted the Justice Department and any hope for accountability. That Mr. Comey’s decision let Ms. Lynch off the hook after her private meeting with Bill Clinton only makes it more disgraceful.
Welcome to modern Washington, just two months away from a presidential election. It’s possible, of course, that the people who believe the system is rigged and that their government has taken sides against them are wrong.
In another opinion article ("Since Men Aren't Angels"), Roger Kimball ends with an idea that may explain why the civil service didn't bother to stop Clinton and why the IRS has become unanswerable to the public. Kimball was writing about James Madison and the safeguards to our liberty in the Constitution. But he ended with this sobering thought:
The American republic has survived for nearly 250 years because it has, more or less, remained faithful to Madison’s vision. But Madison was right. Threats to liberty are “sown in the nature of man.” We’ve also had nearly 250 years of human ingenuity chipping away at Madison’s safeguards.
As Constitution Day approaches, the sobering and nonpartisan question is whether government has become its own party, a self-engrossing faction so large, domineering and impertinent that we, the people, can no longer control it.
Not only did Mrs. Clinton not follow the law, now the State Department seeks to hide from us information that should be known before we cast our votes in November.
Easy to explain once we consider that that government has become its own party, domineering and impertinent. I wish I thought this would be discussed in the presidential debates.