DoJ appointees to be barred from political events

Source: Hot Air

If you don’t think the backlash from the bizarre FBI raid on Mar-a-Lago has been sinking in for people in the Biden administration, consider this story that popped up at the Associated Press yesterday. Seemingly out of the blue, Attorney General Merrick Garland announced that the Department of Justice will no longer allow “political appointees” serving anywhere in the DoJ, including the FBI, to attend fundraisers or other campaign events for politicians. Appointees like Garland himself or Christopher Wray were previously allowed to attend such events if they requested permission in advance. But now they will be flatly banned from doing so. Why would this new rule pop up just now? According to Garland, he wants to eliminate even the perception that there could be anything politically motivated going on. So I guess that sets everything to rights, eh?

The Justice Department will no longer allow political appointees to go to fundraisers and other campaign events under restrictions handed down Tuesday that are aimed at maintaining the department’s independence from politics.

Attorney General Merrick Garland, who is currently overseeing investigations including the FBI search of former President Donald Trump’s home and the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riot, said in a memo that the restrictions are to ensure that politics “both in fact and appearance” won’t affect the way the law is enforced or how inquiries are carried out.

Appointees, hired under presidential administrations rather than making long careers at the Justice Department, have been allowed to attend political events passively on their personal time with prior approval. The new policy bans attendance altogether.

The obvious weaponization of federal law enforcement against any political adversaries of Joe Biden, particularly anyone ever associated with Donald Trump or January 6, has even started to be mentioned on news outlets besides Fox News. Not many, mind you, and plenty of mainstream media figures continue to provide cover for them, but the tide is definitely swelling. Meanwhile, those who appear to be aligned with any “Friends of the Democrats” are virtually ignored for law enforcement purposes. (See Stephen Colbert’s production crew for only one example among many.)

So the first question to ask regarding this new policy is whether or not it will apply to Garland himself. Thus far in his tenure, he’s done a fairly good job of avoiding any photo ops at political events. Were he to start showing up at Biden fundraisers or rallies, that would be a bit too obvious, right? The man may be incredibly biased and bitter about being denied a seat on the Supreme Court, but that doesn’t mean that he’s stupid.

But that fact alone is what makes this rule change seem rather silly. There’s no point in having a “man on the inside” if the man is constantly broadcasting that he’s acting on your behalf. That would be like sending a spy into the Kremlin wearing a Biden 2024 ballcap every day.

Here’s one of Garland’s quotes from the announcement:

“It is critical that we hold ourselves to the highest ethical standards to avoid even the appearance of political influence as we carry out the department’s mission.”

I’m sure we can all agree with that. It certainly would be critical to eliminate political influence from federal law enforcement circles if the system is to function as intended under the Constitution. But stealing a phrase from Garland’s own lips, what we’re seeing thus far appears to be an effort to eliminate “the appearance” of such influence, rather than the actual influence under the covers.

To be fair to both sides here, this is an area where Donald Trump didn’t succeed very well either. He demanded loyalty in all things from the people serving below him, particularly his appointees. That’s ironic in and of itself since Christopher Wray was a Trump appointee and he clearly never developed any allegiance to him. But as Trump seemed to slowly learn the hard way, the problem isn’t found with the appointees who mostly come and go as the administrations change over the years. It’s the career operatives who spend their entire careers there. And while there are always exceptions, the culture inside of the FBI and the rest of the Justice Department clearly appears to have skewed increasingly to the left and now to the woke over the past decade or more.