Democrats, media are launching Alinskyesque attacks on McGahn
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Liberal media’s long knives are out for individual White House staffers, because in the spirit of Saul Alinsky, liberal objectives justify cutting individuals personally and driving them from the arena. In the last two weeks it’s been White House counsel Don McGahn’s turn at the cutting table.

With all the subtleness of al Qaeda, Politico and Slate published simultaneous profiles of McGahn titled “He’s Going to Be an Enabler” and “The Enabler in Chief,” respectively. The Washington Post has chimed in, too, with a silly piece by Dana Milbank and a vindictive one by supposedly impartial Federal Election Commission head Ellen Weintraub, who voted to reprimand Trump the day before her rant was published.


These hit pieces appeared at nearly the same time, have identical themes and approaches, and appear to be sourced to the same few “anonymous sources” and disgruntled former bureaucrats. Alinsky would be proud.


For what acts do these anonymous liberals and their faithful scribes fault McGahn?

He restored due process for American citizens who appear before a federal agency run amok — the FEC. 

When McGahn arrived at the FEC in 2008, the agency’s general counsel’s office was running its own operation — asserting its independence from its client, the commission — despite the statutory mandate that the FEC’s commissioners were the ultimate authority on the exercise of agency investigations and actions.

The general counsel’s office was coordinating investigations with the Department of Justice without the knowledge of the commissioners and without the expressed statutory authority to engage in such activity. Under federal law, the commissioners must vote to refer matters to the DOJ for criminal prosecution.

Under the guise of cooperation between federal agencies, the general counsel’s office was pursuing its own agenda, taking its cues from “campaign finance reform” lobbyists and often acting at their behest — liberal zealots who unsurprisingly targeted Republican and conservative candidates, groups, and activists at the FEC and the IRS.

Prior to McGahn’s tenure, the general counsel’s office assumed these powers for itself without any authority in the law to do so. The office acted as a law unto itself. 

Fortunately, McGahn restored agency functions to conform to the agency’s statutory mandate. Contrary to the impression in the hit pieces, it was McGahn who respected and enforced the law and democratic accountability to make presidentially appointed and Senate-confirmed officials responsible for agency actions.

Of course, for liberals who believe in investing governmental power in unelected liberal bureaucrats — and they are indeed reliable to pursue liberal objectives with the power of government in their hands — McGahn defeated the kind of unaccountable agency power they desire. 

But McGahn merely made the agency be bound by the laws that created it in the first place.

Weintraub, who is 14 years into a six-year term, was defeated time and time again by McGahn. The commissar of speech has become unhinged over McGahn’s ascent to White House counsel.

In her own personal diatribe on McGahn, Weintraub charged that McGahn promoted gridlock and delay. Weintraub misses no opportunity to lambast the president and McGahn on Twitter and misuse FEC letterhead.

It is interesting to note that it is only gridlock when three Republican commissioners vote together, but it is something virtuous when the three Democrat commissioners vote as a bloc.

It was under Weintraub’s watch, which is ongoing, that the bureaucrats in the agency usurped the power and authority of the commission from the commissioners. It is also clear that she approved of this ultra-vires usurpation so long as it was her political opponents who suffered. How might she howl if the shoe were on the other foot?

But Weintraub was the big loser, as McGahn reined in a bureaucracy operating outside its authority.

Contrary to the assertions of his critics, McGahn’s actions show a respect for the law and the due process rights of Americans who participate in our democratic process.

Weintraub and the others, most of whom were cited anonymously in the Politico and Slate articles, were willing to sacrifice those due process rights on the altar of supposed campaign finance reform. They wanted to wield the FEC as a sword to slash their political opponents. It is they that showed a disregard for the law, not McGahn.

Thus all of the manufactured worrying over McGahn’s role as White House counsel is misplaced.

Americans should have confidence knowing President Trump has McGahn at his side.

Weintraub and others are simply trying to settle old political scores and are using a willing media to do their bidding.

No wonder the American people hold the media in lower regard than Congress and the federal bureaucracy.

David Warrington is a partner at the national law firm of LeClairRyan and chairs the firm’s political law practice. He was general counsel to Ron Paul’s 2012 presidential campaign and served as counsel to the Credentials, Rules and Platform committees for the Trump campaign at the 2016 Republican National Convention.

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