from David French at National Review, Public Servants, Your Responsibilities Trump Your Right to Partisan Participation
As for me, I’m done with giving government employees the benefit of the doubt. Want me to have confidence in your fairness, prudence, and good judgment? Refrain from violating your marriage vows (an act, by the way, that makes an FBI agent vulnerable to blackmail) and texting inflammatory political content to your mistress. Or, in the case of Barbara Bosserman, the Obama donor and DOJ attorney who helped oversee the IRS Tea Party–targeting investigation, make a choice: Give money to your favorite politician, or lead the then most-contentious investigation in American politics.
Indeed, here’s a good rule of thumb. The more politically contentious the investigation, the greater care should be taken to cleanse the investigators and prosecutors of obvious partisan leanings. Even though the DOJ may not discriminate on the basis of political affiliation when hiring for career positions, nothing stops a lawyer or investigator from saying no to an offer or declining to apply. Indeed, it’s worth building your career around a principle of restraint. The culture should be clear: If you want to protect the republic from public corruption, voluntarily relinquish your rights to certain kinds of public political participation. Your acts of voluntarily restraint are the acts that will lay the foundation of public trust.
But it is time for our bureaucrats — before they engage in partisan expression or partisan giving — to ask, “What would a reasonable partisan opponent think of my conduct?” It’s time for bureaucrats to apply a governmental version of the Golden Rule. Should I inflict on others the kinds of suspicions that I’d feel myself if the roles were reversed?