Articles are available for reprint as long as the author is acknowledged: Domenick J. Maglio Ph.D.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016


By Domenick J. Maglio PhD. Traditional Realist

Government workers are servants for the people. When congress requests pertinent information about a federal investigation all government officials have the obligation to assist the process in order to uncover the truth. “Taking the Fifth” obstructs and impedes congressional members from establishing accountability in the people’s government.

This is a different situation than in an individual’s Fifth Amendment rights not to be forced to testify against himself. “Taking The Fifth” by citizens protects them from being coerced by government enforcement members to make false statements to incriminate themselves. The Fifth Amendment protects citizens from being abused by the politically powerful. Without the Fifth Amendment the person would be at the mercy of dishonorable and corrupt government officials.

Our founding fathers studied history and knew the British system of law and justice used an inquisitor method of questioning. This system allowed browbeating confessions out of the accused by requiring them to answer rapid-fire questions. This questioning technique of suspects increases the possibility of false, self-incriminating statements, unconsciously or consciously to end the terrifying process. Our Fifth Amendment protects citizens from this intimidating interrogation.

In no way should taking the 5th protect a public servant from using his position to subvert investigations into corrupt practices of self, fellow members or superiors. The unwillingness to answer simple and direct questions to which the person should know the answer is a dereliction of duty as a government official. These negative acts impact the public right to accountability of its government officials.

In our current political establishment government officials have used the right of the Fifth Amendment to stonewall congressional investigations. John Sepulveda, a veteran’s administration official took the 5th concerning his two extravagant waste of tax dollars conferences. Patrick Cunningham invoked the 5th concerning the “fast and furious” transporting of 2000 guns over the border to Mexico. A Solyndra official pleaded the 5th concerning the fraudulent $535 million loan from Obama’s stimulus package. Greg Roseman, a deputy IRS director took the 5th regarding his awarding the largest contract to his friend. Lois Lerner, of the IRS, was involved in targeting conservative groups for withholding or prolonging applications for tax-exempt status. She took the 5th repeatedly throughout the congressional hearings, retired and is receiving her full pension. Hillary Clinton’s information technology specialist, Brian Pagliano, took the 5th even after receiving congressional immunity. Paul Cambatta wiped Hillary’s server clean with “bleach bit” two weeks after congress requested all emails be preserved and invoked the 5th 125 times in a deposition for Judicial Watch. Two of Hillary’s lawyers, Cheryl Mills and Heather Samuelson, got immunity for turning over the laptop computers although they proceeded to take the 5th. Incredulously the head of the Justice Department, Attorney General of the USA, Loretta Lynch, pleaded the 5th on the secret Iran $1.7 billion ransom payments. She also met with Bill Clinton days before FBI director James Comey’s refusal to prosecute Hillary Clinton for her well-documented email scandal. Hillary Clinton, herself deleted 33,000 of her own emails and had memory loss, responding, “I don’t remember” throughout the congressional Benghazi investigation, obstructing it.

The “Taking of the 5th” in a government investigation should at the least result in the termination of the person’s position. Under the law, it should be illegal to participate in bilking citizens out of their tax dollars by using it illegally or covering up information to protect another government official.

The “honest service law” allowed investigators the latitude to punish government employees for dereliction of duty. In 2010 the Supreme Court ruled this statute was too vague and narrowed the definition to an outright bribe to be able to prosecute any government employee under this provision. This statute should be rewritten to provide some limitations of government officials who are not providing their services for the interest of the public. The Supreme Court should reexamine this statute to provide citizens some firm restrictions on keeping out-of-control corrupt government officials in check. The people have the right to see their justice system punish the powerful government elite for corruption in an equal manner as any other citizen.

These government elites should not be allowed to hide behind the protection of the 5th Amendment when they are performing their official duties as government employees. There should be significant consequences for any government employee taking the 5th, lying by omission for anything involved with government business.

The automatic loss of government positions including benefits and pension will help to keep the officials on the straight and narrow path. This will put everyone who works for the government on notice that they are not entitled to own their position in perpetuity.  They will be placed on notice that their job is conditional on doing honest service to the people by following the rule of law.

The use of the 5th Amendment to shield corrupt government policies and behavior is an unconscionable example of the political ruling class’s brazen disrespect for the people’s right to an honorable republic with integrity.

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