Don’t allow government officials to shirk responsibility

Government officials are increasingly acting as if they are somehow beyond criticism. But the truth is exactly the opposite – they have a duty to be transparent and accountable to citizens, and this forces them to face criticism head-on.

The impulse to dodge criticism and accountability, and in some cases even criminalize dissent, is more evident in the context of the electoral integrity debate. In Arizona, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and elsewhere, government officials have treated public criticism with contempt and attacked anyone who dares to question their conduct.

In Arizona, the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors has aggressively refused to cooperate in good faith with the recently concluded State Senate audit of the 2020 election, even after courts ordered them to comply. subpoenas requiring them to hand over election materials and information. When listeners expressed concern that some election data had not been disclosed, for example, the council was haughty. responded that the information had been archived and had not been released because the assignment did not explicitly specify the archived data. The board seemed downright elated to bypass the subpoena, even if it only served to exacerbate confusion and doubt over the election.

In Wisconsin, Democratic Gov. Tony Evers recently encouraged city clerks to get “lawyerBefore speaking with the Office of Special Counsel that the State Assembly established to investigate the 2020 election. Special Advocate, retired Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman, said summer very clear that the aim of the investigation is not to overturn the election, but rather to restore public confidence in the electoral process by determining what went well as well as what could have gone wrong in the administration of the election.

The only reason the clerks would need to be “litigated” is if they had something to hide, such as intentional violations of state election law for partisan purposes. If mistakes have been made or laws have been unintentionally broken due to confusion over running an election during a pandemic, Gableman’s mandate is simply to suggest reforms designed to strengthen the process going forward. , not to punish the clerks.

In Pennsylvania, Attorney General Josh Shapiro and all Democrats in the state Senate filed lawsuits block subpoenas aimed at eliciting voter information as part of a full 2020 election investigation. They say the lawsuits are aimed at protecting voter privacy, but the alleged threat is purely speculative and the Voter privacy is not their concern, as the Democrat-led State Department shares the same sought-after information with outside vendors and private partisan organizations. Pennsylvania’s voter registration system may have been compromised by a deal made by the Democratic Secretary of State that gave digital access to a partisan militant group, which then allowed that access to dozens of other organizations. , including political campaigns. It appears the Pennsylvania Senate Democrats are working to prevent any scrutiny of these secret deals.

In Michigan, state officials have taken an even more aggressive approach, with Attorney General Dana Nessel (pictured) threatening investigate anyone who questions the integrity of the 2020 elections.

However, it is not just electoral integrity issues that bring out this kind of undemocratic elitism. Marine Corps Lt. Col. Stuart Scheller was jailed – in isolation, nothing less – for publicly criticizing the botched US withdrawal from Afghanistan. Meanwhile, General Mark Milley is not held responsible for his role in the debacle in Afghanistan – even after a wandering drone strike killed seven innocent children – neither his communications with China without the president’s knowledge, nor his repeated communications with various authors and journalists.

This is not the way it is supposed to work in a democracy. Too many government officials today think they are above reproach and beyond reprimand, and believe that our rights emanate from the government and, therefore, can be taken away as those who hold it wish. ‘authority.

The American people cannot tolerate such elitism on the part of public servants if we are to preserve our freedoms. Any people who claim to be free must have the courage to defend the freedoms of those with whom they do not agree. If we don’t, we won’t be free for long.

When our elected officials refuse to be open and transparent with us, we should assume it is because they are not doing their job well, and we should use the power of our votes to replace them with someone who respects our rights as citizens. Otherwise, we may one day find that we no longer have the ability to replace corrupt or incompetent officials.

Phill Kline is the former Kansas attorney general. He is currently Chair Pastor of Amherst Baptist Church, Professor of Law, and Director of the Thomas More Company’s Amistad Project.

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