Butler County Times Gazette
Malfeasance
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By William Dameron
March 25, 2013 12:16 p.m.



From the Bing Dictionary:

mal·fea·sance

[ mal feez'nss ]  

 



  1. misconduct: conduct by a public official that cannot be legally justified or that conflicts with the law.




If there’s any one thing the Obama administration is good at, it’s malfeasance.  There are countless examples, particularly where they do things our founding fathers never intended.  A few I’d classify as such follow:



  • Sending F-16’s and tanks to Egypt (Why arm radical Islamists?);


  • Eric Holder’s refusal to provide Congress with information on the firearms fiasco with Mexico, resulting in his contempt of Congress citation; (It made Congress in general, and the House of Representatives in particular, look totally inept – they couldn’t kick Holder out of office);


  • The President’s  deliberate obfuscation of the Benghazi attacks;


  • The Democrat’s failure to offer budgets in Obama’s first four years.  (This year, they have offered one.)


  • Their failure to address fiscal debt and deficits. (OK, perhaps that is simply incompetence.  But I believe they have a duty here.) ;


  • Government advertising to lure people to sign up for food stamps.




Some current ones:



  • Homeland Security’s  massive purchases of ammunition for all sorts of firearms, creating shortages, and their refusal to tell Congress why they are doing it;


  • Frivolous studies, such as the recently announced grant to study why Lesbians are fatter on average than non-Lesbians; (Another suggestion: they could be uglier on average as well.)


  • The recent release of illegal alien felons (as a tactic to make sequestration seem more horrible than it really is) and without proper documentation;


  • Wildly extravagant spending for junkets by government employees and their wives (General Services Administration is only one of the agencies doing it.)




Malfeasance is hard to prove, because the perpetrators claim what they did was perfectly valid, and they are often defended by the main-stream media.  But, we the people know it when we see it.  The only known remedy for malfeasance is the election process.  It’s up to voters to recognize it and vote the rascals out of office.  But, it’s way too slow, and we blew our chance to do so last November, now we’ll have to wait at least two years for the mid-term elections, and more likely four for the presidential election.  There’s no guarantee the evildoers will be voted out even then.  Even if Republicans win a powerful majority in Congress in the midterms of 2014, there’s no way their Congress can fire Eric Holder, or Harry Reid, or Barack Obama.  

Many states have a better way to address malfeasance: the recall election.  In Wisconsin, they tried to recall Governor Scott Walker (I believe his actions were perfectly valid.)  It didn’t work, because he won the recall election and remained in office.  But at least, Wisconsin has a mechanism.  There is no such mechanism, other than impeachment, in the federal government.  Impeachment has a fundamental flaw: it can only be carried out by the party in power, and even then there must be a large majority.

Let’s suppose we have the ability to demand a recall election for the President, or any cabinet officer, a justice of the Supreme Court, or any member of Congress.  It shouldn’t be too easy to initiate, because if too easy, there would be constant recalls and it would be a great nuisance.  But, suppose we have the ability.  After Obamacare kicks in, could Obama survive a recall?  Could Eric Holder or Harry Reid survive one now?

In order to give the American people the power of recall, we’d have to have a constitutional amendment.  It would define the means of initiation and the procedure.  I believe it should only be directed at one government official, but it could also be used to repeal a particular law.   I’ll take a cut at the wording for dismissal of officials only:

Amendment XXVIII.

Section 1.  Every elected official of the federal government, and each official appointed by the President, and each federal employee shall be subject to nomination as a candidate in a special recall election to determine if such employee shall be retained in office.  If nominated, the candidate may be dismissed from office by a majority of people who vote in the special recall election.  Any such dismissed official shall vacate the office within ten days of the certification of the vote.  Each state legislature shall certify the election results within its state and pass the result to the Chief Justice. of the United States Supreme Court.  The Chief Justice shall certify the total result of the election and direct the dismissal or retention of each nominated official.   

Section 2.  A special recall election shall be held, twice each year, for the purpose of recalling elected and appointed officials of the federal government who have been nominated for recall by resolutions of the majority of participating state legislatures and their governors, or by a two-thirds majority vote of the United State House of Representatives.  The nominations will be passed to the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States at least two months prior to the special recall election.  The Chief Justice  will prepare the ballot and distribute it to the states by two months prior to the date of the special recall elections.  The special recall elections will be national in scope, will be conducted by the states, and will be held on the first Tuesday of May and the first Tuesday in November.  A maximum of ten nominated individuals may be placed on the ballot for recall, and they shall be accepted in the order of certification.  The special recall elections may be held in conjunction with other local, state, and national elections.  The question on the ballot for each individual shall be expressed as “Shall (name of official, position of official) be retained in office?”  If no officials have been nominated or no ballots have been issued by the Chief Justice, such elections may be cancelled. 

Section 3.  Any official refusing to resign office within the ten day period, after being denied retention in office, shall be deemed prima facie guilty of treason and subject to imprisonment, fines, and forfeiture of all federal benefits.

****

Notes: So, if we want to recall President Obama, we would need the majority of the states, at least 26 if all states participate, to pass resolutions nominating him for recall.   Alternatively, a two thirds majority of The United States House of Representatives could also nominate an official for recall.  The Chief Justice would then place the nominee’s name on a ballot and pass the ballot back to the states.  Once certified by the Chief Justice as being not retained in office, the official would have ten days to resign the office.  If the official was elected, the electing body would need to replace him or her.  If appointed, someone else would need to be appointed.

You can see from the above, we’d need a reliable nominating procedure, a trustworthy person of authority to prepare the ballot and certify the election, a reliable election procedure, and some sort of enforcement.  It’s not an easy idea to implement, and there  are probably flaws in what I’ve laid out.  I do believe it is possible, and would be desirable.

All this depends on an honest Chief Justice.  We can only hope.

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