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Corruption

I’m tired of corruption and malfeasance in government.

Look, some people are jerks. I get it. In any free society, there will be people who break the law, abuse their positions of power, take advantage of the less fortunate, and try to impose their beliefs — whether they be good or bad — on others. There is no way to override human nature. And I am a Christian, which means that one of the linchpins of my entire worldview is the concept of original sin and the fallen nature of man. We’re messed up, and it shows.

That doesn’t mean it’s okay. That doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t fight it and try to do better.

Political corruption is nothing new in the United States. From Teapot Dome to Watergate, from Chappaquiddick to Iran-Contra, from Monica Lewinski to “Scooter” Libby, from “Fast and the Furious” to the IRS targeting scandal, from “RussiaGate” to Ralph Northam in blackface. I hate all of it.

On my web site, Scott Bradford: Off on a Tangent, I have condemned corrupt and lying politicians on both the right and the left. I called for the resignation of both Bush’s Attorney General Alberto Gonzales (R) and Obama’s Attorney General Eric Holder (D) when they each perjured themselves before Congress. I condemned Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell (R) in his corruption scandal, and I equally condemned Governor Ralph Northam (D) for his lies and misdirection during his blackface scandal.

Sadly, corruption seems to be on the rise in recent years.

The targeting of conservative political groups by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) under President Obama was especially egregious, and reminded me of President Nixon’s similar use of the federal bureaucracy to impose his will upon the people and to cover-up his own shortcomings. Obama also abused the press (on those rare occasions it dared to question him) in ways that might have made Nixon proud.

And then we have former Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Director James Comey, who decided arbitrarily and with no legal basis whatsoever not to prosecute former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for mishandling classified material and violating public record laws. I worked for the Department of Defense as a contractor for about five years, and had responsibility for handling FOUO (“for official use only”) information…a classification far below “top secret.” If I had done what Clinton did — storing that information on some random, private server — I would have been fired immediately. Had that information been classified, I almost certainly would have faced prosecution.

Equal treatment under the law is one of the basic tenets of human rights. Clinton got a pass on something that very well might have given me — or any of my federal contractor colleagues — a place on the unemployment line. Had classified material been involved, as it was in the Clinton case, I might still be sitting in a federal prison. I mean, we’re still trying to prosecute Edward Snowden for mishandling classified information, and all he did was blow the whistle on a domestic surveillance program that was blatantly unconstitutional.

The fact that Clinton didn’t face prosecution doesn’t offend me because I’m politically conservative or because I don’t like her very much or because I don’t want her to president. These are all true…but her free pass offends me because I know that I would have faced serious consequences if I had done what she did. I believe very deeply that rich and poor, powerful and weak, Republican and Democrat, should be treated the same. The fact that Clinton got a free pass on something that might have landed me in prison really pisses me off because I have a basic sense of fairness and justice.

Weeding corruption out of the government — and especially out of law-enforcement agencies like the FBI — will be among my highest priorities as president. Nobody gets a pass because they are rich or powerful. Nobody gets a pass because of their connections or their party affiliation. Nobody gets a pass for any reason whatsoever.

If you are honest and above-board, I’ll work with you. If you’re corrupt or biased, I’ll fire you, prosecute you, and, if appropriate, throw you in prison. No exceptions.