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| Guest Columnist | Harry M. Covert | Jason Miller | Ken Kellar | Patricia A. Kelly | Cindy A. Rose |


As Long as We Remember...

May 16, 2013

Bugging Reporters, Threats from FBI, IRS

Harry M. Covert

Miss Marple, one of the best fictional detectives, says “tell the truth and shame the devil.” She is also known to remark that “Americans have a lot to answer for,” even if meant tongue in cheek.


Both of these aphorisms are surely appropriate today from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, 100 State Circle, Annapolis, and 1000 Bank Street, Richmond.


There continues to be a lot of waffling from The White House where the venerable Associated Press has admittedly been targeted for phone taps. The AP reporters, as well as others, are a bit fearful and wary of the Department of Justice and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).


At the same time, 501(c) 3 charitable organizations, mostly of the conservative and Tea Party persuasions apparently, have come under the close scrutiny of Justice and the IRS, too.


Of course, responses from those on high blame the alleged misconduct on lower level bureaucrats.


Then there’s the tragic mess of Benghazi where the ambassador and three other Americans were killed in a terrorist action everybody wants to deny. The White House and its State Department are trying to smooth over the howling in the Congress. Of course, politics will get in the way of finding the truth.


These events are just the most recent debacles facing official Washington. They are adding fuel to the political fires now just getting started in a big way. The question: in 2016 will Hilary Clinton avoid being stuck in the tar? Will she leave Joe Biden to another term as vice president?


The fear of the Department of Justice (DOJ) is a real reaction to every citizen. When these government attorneys and their investigative minions zero in on an alleged scoundrel, or scoundrels, there’s new meaning to the saying “I’m from the federal government and I’m here to help you.”


It’s not funny by any stretch of the imagination. A knock on the door from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is not a joke. In fact, FBI and IRS agents are diligent workers and know how to make people squirm and break out in hives.


The mere idea of Justice, the IRS and the FBI converging at homes or offices of the political groups of any belief is dangerous and unfunny.


Listening in on reporters’ phones or reviewing emails (with or without warrants) is despicable. Here’s where truths, half-truths and plain old lies become intertwined and honesty and veracity go out the door into cyberspace.


At this point, here’s an important reminder from Alexis de Tocqueville, “America is great because America is good. When America ceases to be good, America ceases to be great.”


Yes indeed, there’s a lot for the leaders to answer for. Everything rises and falls on leadership and blaming lower echelon civil servants is wrong, wrong, wrong.


Quite frankly, those “Excellencies” in Annapolis and Richmond need to take heed, too. If either have ambitions to higher national office, they should think again and walk carefully.


It’s difficult to imaging inmates in Maryland prisons being allowed to have cell phones. And those supposedly guarding them fathering children or female inmates birthing babies of guards. Won’t be long before the feds take a look at how Martin O’Malley manages the prison system.


On to the Old Dominion. The chief executive there has benefitted from donors, one in particular. One Mr. Moneybags funded the governor’s daughter’s wedding dinner, flew his wife to various events around the country – and the governor has had aspirations to national office.


Plus, Bob McDonnell’s chef in the mansion was forced to resign over alleged money infractions and – the FBI is on the case.


Both the Free State and the Commonwealth are facing gubernatorial elections. There are many ambitious politicos wanting in. At this stage, no overwhelming favorite is grabbing attention.


Virginia’s Republicans will probably pick Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli for governor; the Democrats will likely select Terry McAuliffe.


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