Primer: A Federal Government Weaponized Against Its Own Citizens
The Biden administration is weaponizing the federal government against the American people.
In just eleven months, the Biden administration has shown a repeated pattern of hostility toward the U.S. Constitution and the citizenry it serves.
Most recently, on November 6, 2021, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) raided the private residence of journalist James O’Keefe allegedly searching for a missing diary belonging to President Biden’s daughter. O’Keefe was reportedly handcuffed, in his boxers, and detained as two of his phones were confiscated by federal agents.
This federal raid on a private citizen-journalist is just the latest illustration of the Biden administration’s casual contempt for the citizens it serves. Through their efforts to coerce, intimidate, and pry into the affairs of ordinary Americans going about their lives, the administration and congressional lawmakers have served notice that they see the federal government as a blunt instrument designed to extract obedience from subjects they believe they rule.
The Internal Revenue Service Wants Access to Bank Accounts
In order to finance the initial version of their radical $3.5 trillion “Build Back Better” reconciliation bill, lawmakers included a provision that would have required financial institutions to report transactions of $600 or more for individual bank accounts to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). This provision received intense backlash and has since been revised to cover $10,000 transactions, exempting wage income processed by a number of payroll companies.
The IRS has a history of data breaches leaking sensitive tax documents for hundreds of thousands of citizens. By forcing financial institutions to spy on account holders for the IRS, this invasive provision increases citizens’ vulnerability to future financial data theft by hackers and other malevolent entities, including the Chinese Communist Party. Even beyond hacking, the IRS has a poor record as a custodian of taxpayer information. Just this year, the private financial information of some of America’s wealthiest citizens was leaked to ProPublica. And within the last decade, the IRS engaged in a targeted campaign against designated conservative organizations that delayed their tax-exempt applications and intentionally subjected right-leaning organizations to unnecessary information requests.
Moreover, this plan may represent merely the first step in a broader government intrusion into ordinary Americans’ private affairs. The initial $600 threshold proposed by congressional Democrats would have provided the federal government access to nearly every working American’s bank account, facilitating audits and further intrusive monitoring and regulation of Americans’ personal finances.
The current proposal represents a foot in the door for revised policies under future administrations shifting the threshold downward to cover more Americans’ bank accounts as banks become accustomed to the process. Given the ambitions of progressives to exclude disfavored transactions such as gun sales from the financial system, Americans should regard this proposal as the first step in the construction of a de facto social credit system aimed at effectively freezing the assets of citizens who possess the “wrong” views on politics.
The Department of Justice Thinks Concerned Parents Are Domestic Terrorists
On September 29, 2021, the National School Boards Association (NSBA) sent a letter to the Department of Justice (DOJ) requesting federal assistance in targeting concerned parents at local school board meetings. Disturbingly, the NSBA letter suggested that parents, many angry over the teaching of radical Critical Race Theory in the classroom, mask mandates, and prolonged school closures, were potentially guilty of participating in “domestic terrorism.”
The letter, which was rescinded only after massive public blowback and the withdrawal of many of the association’s state school board affiliates, also requested that the DOJ bring in elements of the FBI’s Counterterrorism Division and National Security Branch to assist in targeting parents accused of “malice, violence, and threats.”
Five days later, on October 4, 2021, Attorney General Merrick Garland issued a memo repeating the unsubstantiated claims from the NSBA and directing the FBI and U.S. Attorneys to “convene meetings with federal, state, local, Tribal, and territorial leaders in each federal judicial district within 30 days of the issuance of this memorandum” to “facilitate the discussion of strategies for addressing threats against school administrators, board members, teachers, and staff.”
A DOJ press release on the same day announced that a task force consisting of the DOJ’s Criminal Division and National Security Division would determine how to prosecute these “crimes.” The most high-profile incident of a parent being “unruly” occurred in Loudoun County, Virginia, where a father confronted the school board for covering up the rape of his 15-year-old daughter in the women’s restroom by a male dressed as a female. Subsequent disclosures have revealed that White House staff coordinated with the NSBA to generate the letter that served as the pretext for Attorney General Garland’s directive to federal prosecutors.
Despite intense questioning from several senators on the Judiciary Committee and a missed November 1, 2021 deadline to provide the Senate with the evidence that resulted in the crafting of the memo, Attorney General Garland and the DOJ have proceeded with their task force in a clear effort to intimidate parents exercising their First Amendment rights to assemble.
The Department of Labor Wants to Penalize and Investigate Your Workplace
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) released its “emergency temporary standard” (ETS) on November 4, 2021 that would have unlawfully and unconstitutionally mandated that every employer with more than 100 employees force its employees to receive the COVID-19 vaccine as a condition of employment. This action represented a violation of President Biden’s previous commitment in December 2020 that he would not support a federal vaccine mandate.
But the mandate was not just a broken promise. It was also illegal. The courts have temporarily barred the Biden administration from taking any “steps to implement or enforce the mandate until further court order,” prompting OSHA to suspend its efforts to implement the ETS. The mandate had previously been slated for implementation on January 4, 2022. If the Biden administration overcomes the current stay, the OSHA vaccine mandate would impact well over 80 million American workers, constituting nearly 50 percent of the total U.S. workforce.
The proposed mandate would have functioned through a penalty imposed on any employer who refuses to cooperate and violates the OSHA policy. This penalty would have included a $13,653 fine per violation against businesses and a $136,530 fine for “willful” or “repeated” noncompliance. Furthermore, the OSHA rule:
The ETS contained no carve-out for truckers, employers, or industries critical for the ongoing supply chain crisis (other than for federal contractors covered under another mandate). Additionally, OSHA planned to deploy inspectors to investigate workplaces reported or suspected to be in violation of the mandate.
The Biden administration is weaponizing the federal government against the American people. Its efforts to coerce financial institutions to spy on the bank accounts of American citizens on behalf of the IRS, chill the First Amendment protected expression of concerned parents at school board meetings, and force employers to require their employees to inject medicine into their bodies as a condition of employment reveal that this war against the rights of the American people is only escalating.
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