Yuval Levin recently wrote TheFractured Republic, an intelligent look at the state of political discontent, and a recommended read. He recently wrote Hillary Is an Embodiment of the Left’s Disdain for Democracy with coauthor Ramesh Ponnuru in National Review. He examines three reason why Hillary is the larger threat while acknowledging Trump’s significant shortcomings.
Meanwhile, the administration’s implementation of the Dodd-Frank financial-regulatory reforms has empowered both old and new agencies to legislate, regulate, and adjudicate immensely complex and highly significant changes in federal law with very little oversight or accountability. But these are hardly the only arenas in which the administrative state is operating beyond the limits of our constitutional system. The immense freedom enjoyed by administrative agencies is a much more concrete and practical threat to our constitutional democracy than even the prospect of an incompetent demagogue in the White House — and it is actively championed and endorsed by Clinton and her party.
Increasingly, these agencies have absorbed portions of the “power of the purse,” which is supposed to belong exclusively to Congress. Some of them fund themselves through fees. When congressional Republicans sought to use Congress’s funding power to prevent the immigration bureaucracy from enforcing President Obama’s unilateral policy, one obstacle in their path was the fact that the fees that the bureaucracy charges go directly to it rather than to the Treasury, and so it could continue to operate as it wished without a congressional vote to fund it. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau was the Left’s most prized achievement within Dodd-Frank. Simultaneously with its creation, it was given a statutory right to funding from the Federal Reserve rather than through congressional appropriation. In effect, it is an independent agency within an independent agency, well removed from effective congressional oversight.
The Obama administration has also pioneered another way for the government to direct money as it wishes without the involvement of Congress: reach legal settlements that include “voluntary” donations to selected nonprofit groups. Liberal organizations have received millions of dollars from Bank of America thanks to one such settlement.