This may come as news to Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley and many of his fellow Republicans: The Federal Bureau of Investigation is a law enforcement agency. So is the Internal Revenue Service.
Most people already think of the FBI as an elite policing agency. But the IRS also investigates crime beyond tax evasion and fraud. Organized crime, drug trafficking, illegal gaming, money laundering and public corruption are just a few examples.
Republicans, including Grassley, claim to be champions of law enforcement and horrified by violence in America.
In fact, at a recent Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, most Republican senators entirely ignored or barely mentioned the actual focus of the hearing. Instead, they put on a show of how worried they are about violence and threats against police, judges, anti-abortion institutions and residents of certain cities that happen to be run by Democrats.
“The baseline is rising — higher rates of violent crime are becoming the new norm,” Grassley said. “Some of the main causes of this rise in violent crime are anti-police rhetoric, de-policing efforts, progressive prosecution, bail reform, defund the police movements. We talked about the crisis faced by law enforcement officers last week in this very committee in our hearing about attacks on police.”
This isn’t a new phenomenon, by any means. In Congress, it often appears that two or more hearings are happening simultaneously, with each party pursuing entirely separate and almost unrelated agendas. It’s probably fair, for example, to say some Democrats tend to be less concerned about vandalism of anti-abortion family planning centers and protests outside Supreme Court justices’ homes than they are about assassinations of doctors and health care workers who provide abortions.
What made this particular display so striking was that the hearing was supposed to be about threats, bullying and intimidation of elections officials and workers. As we heard during the Jan. 6 select committee hearings, some election workers targeted directly by former President Trump had to leave their homes for months because of threats and harassment.
One would think the security of elections and the people who enforce the laws and do the work of democracy would be, if not equally important, then at least of some interest to U.S. senators regardless of party. To make a long story short, it’s not. Read more