What do you do when the cops become the robbers? When federal law enforcement is now criminalizing conservatives, their existence, and their political beliefs and is willing to use all of its taxpayer-funded resources, technology, and manpower to investigate, entrap, surveil, and infiltrate conservative political activists to the point of criminalizing basic First Amendment rights? These are questions many of us never thought we’d be confronted with in our lifetime, but they are upon us and demand immediate practical answers.
With the FBI raiding people’s homes and infiltrating anti-COVID fascist groups and trying to get them to kidnap the Michigan governor, we cannot simply wait for Republicans to take back the House and possibly hold some hearings. We need to confront power with power. Republicans hold the trifecta of government in nearly half the states, and it’s time they use it in the way Madison envisioned.
It doesn’t take a genius to figure out why the Democrats suddenly authorized the hiring of 87,000 more IRS agents. It’s not to ensure that Pfizer isn’t avoiding tax loopholes. It’s to turn all political opponents of the regime into “J6ers,” and the surest way to find nebulous crimes or entrapment to bring the FBI into their lives is to empower the IRS to use the tax code against small business owners. But of course, only the ones who speak out against the new current hotness of the regime.
Madison made it very clear during the 1798 nullification debate that “the states who are parties therto, have the right, and are in duty bound, to interpose for arresting the progress of evil.” But decades into the trend of states being obsequious doormats to the federal government, it’s hard for any one individual elected official to take on the feds alone. However, as I’ve explained before, Madison articulated a more comprehensive blueprint for interposition a decade earlier in Federalist #46. He made it clear that it would have to be the governor and the legislature working together, most likely in a large state (think Florida or Texas), and then bind together with other states to do the same, all the while, harnessing the morality, law, and popular sentiment to delegitimize the federal policy.
“The disquietude of the people; their repugnance and, perhaps, refusal to co-operate with the officers of the Union; the frowns of the executive magistracy of the State; the embarrassments created by legislative devices, which would often be added on such occasions, would oppose, in any State, difficulties not to be despised; would form, in a large State, very serious impediments;” wrote Madison. “[A]nd where the sentiments of several adjoining States happened to be in unison, would present obstructions which the federal government would hardly be willing to encounter.”
So, the first step is to build outrage among the people by exposing the repugnance of the federal acts and delegitimizing their policy in the minds of the citizenry. Then, the governor and legislature, preferably working with adjacent states, work to shield the people from the feds so that they could safely refuse to cooperate with “officers of the union.” Madison predicted that interposition across state lines “in unison” would create an insurmountable obstruction against federal tyranny.
Madison also predicted that the states working together and fanning popular sentiment against the feds would create a synergistic momentum of resistance that would leave the feds with few options for enforcement:
But ambitious encroachments of the federal government, on the authority of the State governments, would not excite the opposition of a single State, or of a few States only. They would be signals of general alarm. Every government would espouse the common cause. A correspondence would be opened. Plans of resistance would be concerted. One spirit would animate and conduct the whole.
Florida’s elected Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis has outlined a superlative plan to push back against IRS lawlessness that, if followed by multiple states, would echo Madison’s successful recipe for interposing against federal tyranny.
- “The state of Florida can require state chartered banks to generate a regular report on IRS engagement.” Patronis explains that this information will help warn the public and the state about the nature of the IRS targets. This is the first step in interposition, which is building public support and exposing the repugnance of the federal actions. We live in an information war. A big part of the fed’s current success is that it does its work quietly over time and then the first people hear of its investigations is from the vantage point of the smear against the people themselves, typically leaked to their favorite media outlets. Slowly over time, the truth comes out as we have seen with January 6 and the Whitmer kidnapping plot, but the damage of “insurrectionists” had already been done. In this same way, the IRS could be caught in the act before it is ready with its PR machine. The same strategy could be applied against the FBI, ATF, and other agencies by the states working with sheriffs to report and analyze federal actions taken against citizens to see if there is a pattern of political discrimination and even persecution.
- “Establish a Civil Liability Trust Fund to help small businesses defend themselves, or even sue the IRS in cases of politically motivated audits or federal overreach.” What we’ve learned from Jan. 6 is that political dissidents are on their own and often can’t receive legal help. In this case, the state would actively pay for those targeted by political persecution.
- “Create a license at the state level so new IRS agents are required to register in order to access account information.” Patronis explains that the process would vet out the backgrounds of the agents to make sure they are not motivated by woke ideology. The names of the operatives in the state would also be made public. This will keep the officers in line and work to delegitimize wayward officers and their actions, further bolstering a scenario of citizens rebuffing “officers of the union” when appropriate. Again, this licensing process could be used for FBI, DHS, and ATF agents as well in some circumstances.
- “Establish criminal penalties for enforcing laws based on viewpoint or political discrimination.” This is the trigger – where the state can show the feds who is boss. Any IRS, FBI, or ATF agent caught prima facie targeting people for their political beliefs would suffer criminal penalties.
I would add that states need a criminal statute specifically prohibiting federal law enforcement from engaging in conspiracies to entrap citizens in criminal activity. We now know based on the trial in the Whitmer kidnapping plot that the FBI concocted the entire plan and conspired to coerce a few lost souls into joining their plot. The same way it is criminal for citizens to engage in this activity, it should be prohibited for the feds to do the same.
If Republicans are unable or unwilling to push back against such immoral and illegal behavior in GOP supermajority states, do you really have confidence D.C. Republicans will properly deter the political persecutions at a federal level with mere control of the House?