IN MY VIEW: Is it time for a legal counsel Superfund? | Opinion


Attorney General Jeff Sessions in August announced measures for finding administration “leakers.” However, he needs to open investigations into charges of corruption, leaks of classified information (aka espionage), and general skullduggery while in office. He’s received a lot of grief lately for NOT starting these investigations. What many people do not understand is that Gen. Sessions WANTS to start investigation, but he’s having difficulty finding the necessary money to begin. The real issue confronting Mr. Sessions is not one of credibility; it is the number of scandals and the money needed to investigate all of them.

Unfortunately, Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein presented Special Counsel Robert Mueller with a BIG blank check to investigate Russian meddling. He now has at least 16 well-paid lawyers on this investigation. Mr. Mueller’s unrestrained team has sucked all the oxygen and money for investigations without restraint.

Just think about the number of alleged and confirmed scandals in the previous administration. Solyndra, Fast & Furious, Benghazi, Uranium One deals, Iran Nuke Deal payoff, IRS targeting conservative groups, and the FBI’s clumsy handling of the Clinton investigation just scratch the surface.

On the few occasions where Congress looked into some issues, former administration officials were often not forthcoming. Many witnesses before the committees claimed “I do not remember,” “I do not recall” or pled “the Fifth.” Perhaps those “witnesses” believed there were so many scandals to investigate, there was no way Congress would spend resources to investigate memory loss. I remember thinking during the Los Angeles riots in 1992 that since every cop in California was physically IN Los Angeles, there was no way I’d get a speeding ticket in Orange County.

If the Department of Justice authorized investigations for every eligible scandal, there would be a public outcry about the costs. In fact, there are so many situations needing investigation that we need to establish the equivalent of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Superfund to deal with a problem of this magnitude. EPA created the Superfund in 1980 to handle the cleanup of uncontrolled and abandoned hazardous waste sites. Similarities exist between the circumstances that created the EPA Superfund and those that dictate the creation of a political scandal superfund.

The cost of cleaning up hazardous waste sites is astronomical. So too are the legal costs of investigating government scandals which ranks up there with a 1960s abandoned landfill. If a “super” pot of money is needed to clean up waste sites, I can only say ditto to the money needed for D.C. scandals. We need a political scandal superfund!

Since a true need exists for a political scandal superfund, we now need a catchy bureaucratic acronym that identifies the program in order to “sell it.” Let’s call this legal superfund program CONVICT — Criminal Oversight Needed Vehemently Investigate Corruption Today. The Department of Justice can then tap into the CONVICT Superfund to investigate and prosecute only the worst government scandals.

The best part of the CONVICT Superfund is how the program gets its money. Taking a cue from the EPA where money is collected in the form of fees and taxes from the producers of hazardous waste, CONVICT will use a similar funding technique. The U.S. can extract a CONVICT Superfund fee from every lawyer, bureaucrat, and politician in the country. Although most CONVICT cleanup cases will likely occur in Washington, D.C., it’s not fair to only tax D.C. lawyers, bureaucrats, and politicians. It’s the same methodology used by the EPA…collect from everybody.

The CONVICT Superfund will allow Congress to free up regular, in-house funds for the everyday, run of the mill type scandal investigations. With the CONVICT Superfund in place, money will now be available to investigate EVERYTHING. Knowing that money is now available, witnesses before Congress might be less likely to say, “I don’t recall” if they fear further investigation or prosecution.

So we now have in place all the components for a new, unending government program: we identified the need for the program; we developed a memorable title to identify the program; and lastly, we found a very large funding source. The tricky part that’s left is to actually implement it. Here we have some problems because the people who would be implementing the program (lawyers and politicians) are the same people CONVICT might likely investigate. There’s a potential conflict of interest. Perhaps we can break the mold and find someone else to implement this idea; like maybe the American people?

U.S. Army Capt. Kelly Galvin (Ret.) enlisted during the Vietnam era and trained and served as an infantryman, scout and combat medic. He graduated OCS and served until 1996, when he retired as a captain, Medical Service Corp. He was recalled to active duty (retiree recall) and served in Baghdad with HQ, Multi-National Force-Iraq during the surge in 2009. He is a Lifetime Member of the Military Officers Association of America (MOAA, Green Valley Chapter) and the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) and a member of American Legion Post 131 in Green Valley.

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