By Joseph Lord
Rep. Harriet Hageman (R-Wyo.) on March 2 called on her party to cut tens or hundreds of millions of dollars in funding from intelligence agencies as Republicans carry on with their investigations into the weaponization of federal law enforcement.
Hageman was joined by Rep. Kat Cammack (R-Fla.) at a discussion at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland, to discuss how Republicans should respond to ongoing concerns about the weaponization of federal law enforcement.
Both congresswomen sit on the House Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government, a GOP-led subcommittee investigating potential rights abuses by President Joe Biden’s Department of Justice (DOJ).
Though these concerns go all the way back to the beginning of Biden’s presidency, Republicans have picked up momentum in their investigations in recent months.
In November, House Republicans unveiled a 1,050-page report detailing whistleblower findings from FBI agents.
Since then, the House majority authorized the creation of the House Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government, which held its inaugural hearing on Feb. 9.
Now, Hageman is calling on her party to use the power of the purse to continue the fight against federal weaponization. Hageman called for her party to consider budget cuts of tens or hundreds of millions of dollars to bring intel and law enforcement agencies back into step with the Constitution.
“Sunshine is the best disinfectant, and the truth is [that] these agencies now believe they’re in charge,” Hageman began.
She said that the problem is worse than a “double standard,” as many Republicans often say. Rather, Hageman said, Republicans should emphasize that it’s “a violation of the core principles this country was founded on.”
“Governments fail when you have an unequal justice system,” Hageman continued. “You treat one segment of society one way and another segment of society another way, eventually you lose your ability to work together and to have a cohesive government, to have a cohesive society.
“So it’s incredibly important that we challenge—well it isn’t just, ‘Oh look, where are you going after this, it’s not fair that you treat Donald Trump differently,’” Hageman said. “Any three-year-old knows that you should treat everybody the same. That’s why we have an Equal Protection Clause in the Fifth Amendment, in the Fourteenth Amendment.”
Hageman said that many of the DOJ’s decisions, it seems, have been politically motivated.
“We need to call these things out for really what they are: the Department of Justice is engaging in blatant politics in violation of the oath of office, again, [which] those people took.”
Hageman added, “We need to name names.”
She made a reference to the $1.7 trillion which at the end of the 117th Congress was quickly passed by the lame-duck Democrat-held House and the evenly-split U.S. Senate. The passage of this bill, Hageman suggested, will help to enable further abuses by law enforcement in the federal government as it absolved intel agencies of the need to petition Congress for more money.
The spending bill was able to pass after Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) made a backroom deal with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), giving Democrats the votes to pass the measure. Though they were frustrated by the passage of the bill, there was little House Republicans could do to stop it after it won McConnell’s support.
Hageman told the crowd that the effect of this, in part, was to make it easier for federal law enforcement agencies to continue to violate American liberties.
Cammack also weighed in, explaining that the goal of intel agency heads when testifying to Congress is usually to run out the clock. She referenced a Senate Judiciary Hearing the other day, during which Attorney General Merrick Garland gave his first testimony to the 118th Congress.
Garland spoke slowly, Cammack contended, on purpose.
“Members of Congress … have a small amount of time—sometimes five minutes, sometimes 10 minutes—to ask their questions,” Cammack said. “So the people [lawmakers are] questioning, they’re trying to run the clock out.”
The two lawmakers referenced several instances of abuses, including federal law enforcement’s alleged collusion with Big Tech. Cammack further referenced the case of crisis pregnancy centers, which have faced a spurt of left-wing radical violence for their inherent, often faith-based opposition to abortion.
Federal law enforcement agencies have told Congress that part of the difficulty in finding these perpetrators is that the crimes are often committed at night, a position which both Hageman. and Cammack dismissed.
Hageman was then asked how Congress could respond to ensure Americans’ rights were being protected.
“We have to do it through the power of the purse,” Hageman replied. “There are many reasons we’re very angry about what happened with the omnibus spending bill, which 18 Republicans voted for and [who] should be held accountable.” She was met with a roar of boos after mentioning the Republicans who helped pass the nearly $2 trillion package.
Hageman continued: “The omnibus spending bill in December basically limited what we can do in Congress in terms of some of these agencies, funding these agencies.”
“Part of the reason [intel agencies] are flipping their hand at us is, ‘Hey, we got our money, we don’t necessarily need to come in and talk to you,’” Hageman said.
Hageman added that there is no reason intel agencies should be using any taxpayer funds for anything targeting First Amendment rights. To this end, she called for Republicans to cut funding from intelligence and federal law enforcement agencies by tens or hundreds of millions of dollars to rectify the rights violations.
“I sound like a broken record: they are violating the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution when they do anything to affect our ability to speak and to hear,” Hageman said. “We have the right to both.
“So it is using the power of the purse—if they have the money to do that, if they have tens of millions or hundreds of millions, then our next budget is gonna make sure they don’t have any of that,” Hageman said.