The Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government is a new investigative panel added to the realm of the House Judiciary Committee for the next two years, at a minimum.
According to a resolution adopted by the Republican majority unanimously on a party-line vote, the new select subcommittee will investigate any malfeasance in the activities of the law enforcement agencies of the executive branch, the Justice Department and the federal government as a whole.
This sounds dandy. But the impetus of the panel is led by MAGA populists and far-right members of the House GOP who are seeking payback for years of scrutiny the past Democrat-controlled House sessions placed on former President Donald Trump, Trump’s election denial conspiracy theories, and the incipience of the organized effort to overturn the results of the 2020 election.
This is also a chance for the GOP members to seek even more payback for the Jan. 6 Select Committee that concluded its work during the lame-duck session of the previous Congress.
Republicans presented the new panel as a means to hold runaway government and abuses accountable.
The question remains: What is the subcommittee after? The resolution outlines an overly broad power and purview of authority to go after federal agency executives and civil servants for simply doing their jobs. This new subcommittee has its eyes set on two major government entities.
First, the subcommittee wants to investigate the FBI for what Trump proponents and far-right-wingers believe is a law enforcement bias against conservatives.
They will investigate the FBI’s role in the criminal probes that put Trump and his associates under the microscope for potential crimes like fraud and sparking insurrection.
The Department of Justice oversees the FBI and is the other primary entity in the line of fire. During the proceedings of the Jan. 6 panel’s congressional investigation, several of Trump’s former and current aides resisted subpoenas to testify before Congress. One such figure is Steve Bannon.
The notorious right-wing political operator and former chief strategist in Trump’s White House was found guilty of two counts of contempt of Congress for defying a subpoena to testify.
Bannon was sentenced to several months in prison. Conservatives view his conviction as silencing a political opponent by a left-wing government.
Outside of these areas of concern for the House GOP majority, the subcommittee will turn into an echo chamber of hyperpartisan detritus and the tired rehashing of debunked far-right conspiracy theories propagated by Trump, his allies, Q-Anon sympathizers and other Trumpist bull.
There is no clear purpose for the committee rather than investigate the federal government for ostensible bias and abuses that infringe on the rights of conservatives and MAGA Republicans.
Even the Jan. 6 panel, despite your views on its success or failure, had a focus.
The New York Times got reactions from Massachusetts Rep. Jim McGovern, a Democrat. McGovern told the Times that the subcommittee is reminiscent of the McCarthyism era during the Cold War.
I agree with McGovern. While former Sen. Joseph McCarthy never served on the controversial House Un-American Activities Committee, he was a central figure in the persecution of members of the federal government and in private industry who he alleged had communist ties to Moscow.
McCarthy accused civil servants of being closet communists seeking to upend American freedoms in the post-war economy. He even publicly outed and persecuted gay members of the government in a subsequent moral panic known as the Lavender Scare during the Second Red Scare. McCarthy baselessly accused law-abiding citizens of stirring pro-communist insurrection, sedition, carrying out espionage operations for the Soviet Union, committing sex crimes, and other accusations derived from xenophobic and bigoted conspiracy theories augmented by the post-World War II hysteria.
This new select subcommittee is an exercise in fearmongering and conspiracy-driven politics.
Sen. McCarthy, the civil liberties-infringing anti-communist moral entrepreneur, would be proud of Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s new snowflake-like “bias response team.”