Opinion: The Federal Bureau of Inconvenience

Stephen D’Abreau

Stephen D'Abreau

It seems as though no one is happy with the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Back in July, it was the Democrats who praised the FBI and their director, James Comey, while the Republicans cried foul. Now, it is the Republicans who sing praises and the Democrats who decry the bureau.

Last summer, the Democratic Party’s opinion concerning this matter could be summed up no better than by President Barack Obama, who said, “To know Jim Comey is also to know his fierce independence and his deep integrity … he’s that rarity in Washington sometimes – he doesn’t care about politics, he only cares about getting the job done.”

However, this week, as Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton recently visited Kent State, the FBI reopened their criminal investigation of her email server in connection with the unrelated case of Anthony Weiner, a former New York congressman.

In a letter to Congress, Comey explained that the criminal investigation has been reopened, writing, “In previous congressional testimony, I referred to the fact the (FBI) had completed its investigation of (the Clinton server) … In connection with an unrelated case, the FBI has learned of the existence of emails that appear to be pertinent to the investigation. I am writing to inform you that … (in response) I agreed that the FBI should take appropriate investigative steps.”

The entire letter is only three short paragraphs of text. However, so close to the election, Clinton’s polling numbers have dropped significantly and the race has drastically narrowed. This has led many prominent Democrats to accuse Comey of trying to meddle in the affairs of the election, even perhaps breaking the Hatch Act of 1939 which prohibits the use of official authority to influence the result of an election.

There seems to be no concrete evidence that can be gathered from Comey’s vague and brief piece that would, beyond a shadow of a doubt, prove it was a letter meant to influence the result of the election. Comey made it very clear in his own letter to Congress that this information is to amend his testimony that he gave which is no longer true. It actually seems he is trying to avoid breaking the law, specifically Title 18 USC 1001, which pertains to whoever “knowingly and willfully… falsifies, conceals or covers up by any, tick scheme, or device a material fact…(in) any investigation or review, conducted pursuant to the authority of any committee, subcommittee, commission or office of Congress.”

So what conclusions are we to make?

The fact is, like pending charges of racketeering and fraud pending against Trump, Clinton has several currently open FBI investigations on her, most relating to the Clinton Foundation and her email servers. If Democrats don’t want FBI investigations to hurt them in the polls, then they need to perhaps not choose candidates with so many FBI investigation open on them.

The purpose of the Hatch Act is to stop high ranking government officials from using their position to support politicians or interfere with elections. It isn’t meant to suppress information inconvenient for the endeavors of politicians.

What is important here is not the Hatch Act, or Title 18 USC 1001 or the FBI. The central question should be this: Does the American public have the right to know if their government has an open criminal investigation on a politician? The democratic answer to this question should be a firm “yes,” regardless of what certain Democrats may say.

Stephen D’Abreau is a columnist, contact him at [email protected].