The following contains editorial content which is the opinion of the writer.
WASHINGTON, DC- Never underestimate the FBI’s ability to try to swing elections.
We saw that in 2016 when FBI assets launched the investigation into the Trump campaign called “Crossfire Hurricane,” which turned into nothing more than an elaborate hoax to initially derail Trump’s presidential campaign, and then dog the first three years of his administration.
Then there is the preliminary shot at undermining any plans Trump might have to run in 2024, with the FBI employing a number of embedded assets at the US Capitol on January 6 to help trump up (no pun intended) the so-called “greatest insurrection in world history!!!”
House Democrats and a couple of RINOs are of course trying to pin that on the former president in order to derail any inclinations he may have about 2024.
Now, with soaring crime rates dogging Democrats going into the 2022 mid-term elections, they can once again apparently count on the FBI to give them some assistance. And for those of us who have worked in law enforcement, this one is a doozy.
According to Steven Hayward writing in PowerLine Blog, the FBI has apparently come upon a magical solution to the crime problem that is haunting Democrats, a problem which they themselves created.
This was done in part by dismissing violent riots committed primarily by their base back in 2020, and secondly by taking George Soros blood money to elect district attorneys across the land who have turned our courtrooms into revolving doors of violent scumbags out on the streets before the ink is dry on their arrest reports.
Face it, the Democrats are going to need a miracle to keep their majorities in Congress this coming November. But as Hans Gruber said in Die Hard, if you’re looking for a miracle, you can always count on the FBI.
On March 21, the FBI released their quarterly uniform crime report. Nothing unusual about that, with the UCR as its referred often used by members of the media as well as law enforcement officials to gauge violent crime in their communities. However, a funny thing happened on the way to the release, with the following note posted at the top of the home page:
“The Quarterly Uniform Crime Report was made available on March 21, 2022.
For this quarterly release, due to agency participation being under the 60 percent threshold, data trends by region and aggregate population group will not be available. Data from individual city agencies with populations of 100,000 or greater can be accessed in the Resources section below.” [emphasis added]
Hmmm. Interesting. So apparently, the FBI is claiming that not enough police agencies submitted the data used by the FBI to provide national statistics. Does that make any sense to anyone? Especially since (the last we knew) providing of those statistics is not optional?
So in other words, Democrats…and we know Democrats like the backs of our hands…will now be able to point to FBI crime statistics and claim…without context, mind you…that the crime rate which those evil Republicans have been complaining about are in fact falling.
And they will of course take credit themselves, or praise the rock solid anti-crime policies of Joseph Robinette Biden as the reason for this miraculous turnaround.
And sadly, roughly half the population will fall for it, even as they have to run to their cars at Whole Foods after grocery shopping so a gang of thugs don’t hold them up for their Cheerios…or whatever the “O”-shaped cereal is at Whole Foods.
Or, perhaps as they dodge bullets while driving down the street in downtown Chicago or Los Angeles on the way home from McDonalds.
While we’re on the subject of crime, the PowerLine piece brought up a new phenomenon called “crime tourism.” As one might expect, it’s all the rage in California because let’s face it, all the “cool” trends start in the land of fruits and nuts.
What is “crime tourism” you might ask? Sid Garcia reports on the latest trend from KABC-TV in Los Angeles:
Law enforcement agencies call it “crime tourism”—groups of thieves from South America traveling to California to burglarize homes…
They’re able to easily obtain tourist visas to travel to California by applying online. Once they have a visa, they land at LAX and start their crime spree.
Residents in one Camarillo neighborhood say they’re well aware of the South American burglary crews that have been targeting their community and the surrounding areas.
“Several of my friends have been hit repeatedly,” Camarillo resident John McGrath said…According to the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office, last year alone, they handled 100 cases involving crews from South America.
Speaking of Soros, one of our favorite whipping boys, feckless pro-criminal San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin is on the ropes, with a recall effort gaining steam.
Remember, the liberal mecca of San Francisco is where only weeks ago, three members of the San Francisco school board were shown the door by voters, who thought those three were even too liberal for the uber liberal city by the bay.
Of Boudin, the San Francisco Chronicle reported that polls show Boudin is in big trouble.
…Of 800 voters likely to participate in the June 7 election, 68% said they would vote yes on recalling Boudin. Seventy-four percent said they have an unfavorable opinion of him, and 78% rates his job performance as “only fair” or “poor.”
Don’t let the door hit ya where the good Lord split ya, Boudin.
Speaking of the FBI, in case you missed it, below is a report on an internal probe uncovering troubling information about the bureau.
WASHINGTON, DC- An internal probe conducted by the FBI shows that agents violated their own rules at least 747 times in 18 months related to investigations involving politicians, candidates, religious groups, the news media and others, a copy of a 2019 FBI audit obtained by The Washington Times revealed.
According to the internal review, it identified a ratio of a little over two “compliance errors” per each so-called “sensitive investigative matter” (SIM) reviewed by FBI auditors.
Errors such as those include matters such as agents failing to gain approval from senior bureau officials to start an investigation, agents failure to document a necessary legal review occurring before they opened an investigation, and agents failure to tell prosecutors what they were doing, among other things, The Times said.
The audit was discovered by Cato Institute senior fellow Patrick Eddington, who found it via litigation Cato brought against the FBI for access to government records. Eddington said the audits revealed how far “off-the-chain” FBI field offices have gone.
“When they open investigations without authorization, to me that’s about as radical as it gets,” Eddington said.
FBI auditors looked into a small portion of the bureau’s total portfolio of cases. Their study, which looked into 353 cases involving SIMs found rules had been busted some 747 times between Jan. 1, 2018, and June 30, 2019.
Those cases totaled less than half the total number of such cases, indicating the FBI probably has a bigger problem than the audit shows.
SIMs are typically actions which may impact matters such as constitutional rights because they typically involve individuals involved in areas such as politics, governance, religious expression and the news media.
Out of the cases studies, 191 involved domestic public officials. Meanwhile, dozens of the cases involved religious organizations or prominent members thereof, while dozens more cases involved domestic political organizations and individuals. Ten cases involved domestic political candidates, while 11 involved the news media.
The Times said the identities of people and groups investigated by the FIB are not revealed in the audit.
The FBI has come under increasing scrutiny in the past few years, especially in the wake of the Crossfire Hurricane probe into alleged Russia collusion between former President Trump and his campaign and Moscow.
That investigation revealed a number of flaws within the FBI, specifically agents pursuing political agendas, and the inclusion of bogus information in Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant applications.
For example, former FBI attorney Kevin Clinesmith pleaded guilty in 2020 to a charge of falsifying information in order to justify surveillance of a former Trump campaign adviser.
He was given one-year of probation and was allowed to retain his law license. The Times noted that Clinesmith’s offense occurred before the time period examined in the 2019 audit.
According to that audit, 70% of the 747 compliance errors were “related to approvals, notifications, and administrative matters.” It notes that 35 full investigations and four preliminary investigations did not have the approval of an FBI special agent in charge.
Eddington noted a portion of the violations might merely be construed as housekeeping and bookkeeping issues, but he believes there is much more which goes above and beyond individual sloppiness, The Times said.
The FBI audit made a number of recommendations to correct the compliance errors in the audit, however they have been redacted.
The Times said they reached out to the FBI about the information found by the Cato Institute, but refused to answer questions, citing matters of pending litigation.
Some federal lawmakers are also seeking answers about the FBI’s issues as well, with House Oversight Committee members asking on Monday for a new review on how the FBI conducts domestic operations.
Reps. Nancy Mace (R-SC) and Jamie Raskin (D-MD) wrote a latter to the Government Accountability Office (GAO) seeking a review over the FBI’s practice of conducting surveillance on people through assessments.
Mace and Raskin wrote that they bore concerns that such assessments led to the “improper monitoring of protected First Amendment activity” and asked if the FBI had any controls in order to prevent violations of constitutionally provided protections.
Mace and Raskin aren’t the only lawmakers who have attempted to get information about the FBI’s domestic operations. Last December, Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) met with no success when he asked about the FBI’s 2016 investigation into the conservative group Concerned Women for America.
The agency told the senator it didn’t need to explain the probe and declined to answer questions about the reasoning for doing so. Rogue agency perhaps?
The FBI would only say there was nothing to pursue at Concerned Women for America after they conducted their assessment.
The Times noted that the 2019 FBI audit didn’t reveal how many prosecutions or convictions resulted from the SIM investigations.
During the timespan of the audit, the DOJ and FBI repeatedly were the focus of scrutiny by lawmakers and reporters for questionable investigations.
DOJ investigations into alleged leaks of classified information resulted in the seizure of records of at least a dozen people connected to the House Intelligence Committee in 2017 and 2018. It was alleged by that prosecutors gathered information on lawmakers, aides and family members.
CNN reported in May 2021 that the DOJ informed its Pentagon correspondent, Barbara Start, that prosecutors had obtained her phone and email records covering a two month period in the summer of 2017.
Last July, Attorney General Merrick Garland issued a new policy that “restricts the use of compulsory process” to get information from reporters gathering news. That is apparently limited to school parents speaking out at school board meetings.
For more on the FBI’s storied history of malfeasance, we invite you to read a piece we previously published.
The following contains editorial content which is the opinion of the writer.
SEATTLE, WA- Reason tells us the story of two Americans…Carl Nelson and Amy Sterner Nelson. The lives they led prior to the pandemic is a lot different, we’re told, than what it is today.
For one, they were forced to sell their house and car, liquidate retirement funds, and move from a comfortable home in Seattle to the basement of Amy’s sister.
Was this because their jobs were eliminated due to the pandemic? That would be almost understandable. In fact, it’s because despite never being charged with a single crime, the FBI seized nearly $1 million from the couple in May 2020.
This is not communist China or Russia we’re talking about. This isn’t Iran, or Afghanistan or North Korea. It’s the United States of America, where our citizens are supposed to be protected by the United States Constitution. For the Nelson’s, nothing could be further from the truth.
Writing for Reason, Billy Binion says Amy Nelson told him that her belief in fairness has been eliminated.
“We went from living a life where we were both working full-time to provide for our four daughters to really figuring out how we were going to make it month-to-month,” Amy said. “It’s completely changed my belief in fairness.”
For reasons that are still unknown, the FBI decided to raid the Nelson’s bank accounts under so-called “asset forfeiture,” including savings Amy had managed to save from around ten years as a practicing attorney, and later on when she ran a company called The Riveter, the co-working startup she founded.
What makes this even more bizarre—and maddening—is the fact that the FBI didn’t ever suspect Amy of committing a crime. Conversely, it was her husband Carl who was being looked into, however nearly two years later, not a single charge has been filed against him.
The couple’s nightmare began in April 2020, when FBI agents showed up at their home and told them that Carl—a former real estate transaction manager for Amazon—was being investigated for allegedly depriving the company of something called “honest services.”
By way of explanation, he was basically accused of showing favor to certain developers and securing deals for them in exchange for illegal kickbacks.
“That never happened and is exactly why I’ve fought as long and hard as I have,” he says. “It’s that simple.”
It is unknown if the FBI drew the same conclusions, while their multi-year investigation has yielded nothing. That apparently mattered little to the feds, who came into their lives and turned it completely upside down, not only for the couple but for their four children. It cost them their home, their community, their jobs, their girls’ ability to continue attending their Seattle schools, and their future security.
Worse still, the FBI has basically admitted not needing to destroy the Nelson’s lives to complete their investigation nor interfere with any purported crimes being undertaken by Carl Nelson.
Just last week, the federal government agreed to a settlement of $525,000 out of the $892,000 it seized, while the couple will be forced to forfeit about $109,000. Reason notes that the remainder of the funds have been depleted by court fees.
It’s hard,” Amy said, while she said the couple is trying to recoup some of their lost assets using a GoFundMe fundraiser. Amy noted that “not much has changed” for the couple.
Carl still remains a defendant in a lawsuit filed against Amazon, and she said the only reason the couple accepted the settlement is in order to secure funding for attorneys’ fees.
She admitted that the settlement felt “like the beginning of some justice.” Sadly in the case of the Nelsons, justice means losing hundreds of thousands of dollars for absolutely no reason.
Asset forfeiture has long been a controversial program, where law enforcement agencies are allowed to seize assets where those assets are allegedly used in the commission of a crime, either directly or indirectly. For the Nelsons, they are hardly alone.
There are numerous cases throughout the country where people have seen their property seized by law enforcement. One example is in Indiana, where Tyson Timbs sold drugs to an undercover officer in 2013. This was shortly after he had purchased a $42,000 Land Rover with the proceeds of a life insurance policy he received upon the death of his father. Despite the fact the vehicle was in no way involved with the drug deal, Indiana authorities seized the vehicle.
In Massachusetts, Malinda Harris had her car seized by the Berkshire County Law Enforcement Task Force in 2015 because her son was suspected of selling drugs.
Despite the fact Harris had let her son borrow the car, the police never alleged he had used it for drug dealing, nor did she know about his illicit activity. It wasn’t until October 2020 when she received a civil forfeiture complaint, five years after the car was taken.
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts allows police to seize property when they have probable cause to believe it was used for drug trafficking. However after that happens, the burden of proof shifts to the property owner, who has to prove why the property isn’t subject to forfeiture.
A Nevada case saw Stephen Lara pulled over on February 19, 2021 ostensibly for a traffic offense. Lara consented to a search of the vehicle, whereby officers found some $90,000 in bundled cash in his backpack.
Despite not being arrested or charged with a crime, the money was claimed to have been used in drug trafficking and the cash was seized through asset forfeiture. Again, he had committed no crime.
While the government subsequently agreed to return his money, the fact it was taken in the first place is disturbing. The Institute for Justice filed a lawsuit on Lara’s behalf against the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), which had possession of the money for over six months after the traffic stop.
Sometimes the money or possessions are returned, such as in some of the above cases. Other times it is not. Usually it requires the filing of a civil suit in order to do so, which of course requires money.
“Civil forfeiture is quite common,” says Dan Alban, an attorney at the Institute for Justice, a public interest law firm that specializes in litigating similar cases. “The fact that the government can to this can obviously ruin lives, and it can ruin lives without anyone being convicted of a crime, without anyone even being charged with a crime.”
Alban refers to civil forfeiture as a “high-pressure tactic,” and is one of a number of tools in the government toolboxes, which often robs defendants of being able to stick up for themselves. Amy Nelson agrees, having experienced this up close and personal.
“If you can’t afford to defend yourself, let alone feed yourself, it becomes complicated.”
It is, however, a good deal for government agencies. Reason notes that among local, state, and federal governments, they have seized about $68.8 billion via civil asset forfeiture over the past 20 years, according to a recent report by the Institute for Justice.
“The vast majority of seizures and forfeitures…are driven by the profit incentive,” Alban said. “In most states and at the federal level, police and prosecutors get to keep up to 100 percent of the proceeds. So they just have a very strong incentive to go out and seize whatever they can and try to forfeit it so that they can supplement their budget.”
The money can then be used as the agencies see fit and can be spent on equipment, facilities, and manpower. Reason noted that at times, they are also used on items such as gym equipment, which is an apparent misuse of the funds.
For the Nelsons, it isn’t only money and assets which they have lost, they believe, and it is not the only intimidation tactic the feds have used in an attempt to strong-arm Carl Nelson into buckling.
During the author’s interview, Amy gets upset only when she details the months where she had to wake up before sunrise, get the couple’s four young daughters ready and then driving them to a park far away from their home.
Why? Because the FBI had threatened to, if they received an indictment for her husband, to come to the couple’s home to affect an arrest, in front of his daughters. This despite a request for them to notify him so he could turn himself in…the FBI refused that request.
“Even talking to you now, Billy [the piece’s author], now that we have our money back, now that the government has said, ‘we don’t believe these are the proceeds of a crime’” said Amy. “I am frightened for retaliation. I am frightened of saying anything. Because this is incredibly scary.”
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