William Barr was appointed United States Attorney General in the Donald Trump administration February 14, 2019. As a federal employee, Mr. Barr must abide by the federal government ethics policy which states employees shall act impartially and not give preferential treatment to any private organization or individual. Barr may have violated this policy by seemingly protecting Donald Trump from having his misdeeds and crimes revealed to Congress and the American Public.
Barr is now in charge of the United States Justice Department and as such comes under the ethical guidelines outlined within the Permitted and Prohibited Activities found within and for that agency. That document goes into the details of laws and regulations governing the conduct of Department of Justice employees. William Barr, as an employee of the Justice Department, might be in violation of the Hatch Act and if true should be dismissed from office for his most favorable treatment of Donald Trump.
“All Department of Justice employees are subject to the Hatch Act, 5 U.S.C. 7323(a) and 7324(a), which generally prohibits Department employees from engaging in partisan political activity while on duty, in a federal facility or using federal property. Political activity is activity that is directed toward the success or failure of a political party, candidate for partisan political office, or partisan political group. The statute carries serious penalties including REMOVAL from federal employment.”
William Barr evidently believes in the unitary executive theory which holds that the President possesses the power to control the entire executive branch. What Barr fails to understand is that the purpose of the government is to serve the needs of it’s citizens first and always and doing so through the efforts of the president and his administration. If the president runs afoul of working for the best interests of the people then proper ethics for federal employees should have them resist. We all need to guard against this country sliding toward being a dictatorship.
This unitary executive theory belief intuitively runs counter to a person avoiding running afoul of the Hatch Act. This belief also could be a rather sneaky path toward the United States becoming a dictatorship.
What then are alleged instances of William Barr acting toward the success of Donald Trump? Here is a list of William Barr’s alleged federal government ethics policy and Hatch Act violations:
- Alleged attempts to minimize the impact and importance of the Mueller Report by clouding its findings. Barr repeatedly declared that Trump had been cleared of collusion when the report did not come to that conclusion.
- Barr’s news conference repeatedly (but not universally) mischaracterized what the Mueller Report itself presents.
- Barr allegedly killed the investigation being conducted into the Trump Organization by U.S. attorneys in the Manhattan District of New York. Sources: Politico, Washington Post, The Atlantic
- The Justice Department sent Muller the command, to limit his testimony: “Any testimony must remain within the boundaries of your public report because matters within the scope of your investigation were covered by executive privilege, including information protected by law enforcement, deliberative process, attorney work product, and presidential communications privileges,” As a result, the Justice Department is interfering with Congress and preventing the citizens of the United States from being properly informed about the alleged misdeeds and possible crimes of the president.
Summary: It appears that United States Attorney General William Bar may have violate both the federal employee ethics guidelines and the Hatch Act and the penalty for that crime is termination.
Further Reading: How an Attorney General Works
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The above blog post was asked by and written for the web site IndivisibleCA39.org.
Posted: July 23, 2019
Edited comment: July 27, 2021