Fourteenth Amendment Is Dying A Slow Death.

We don’t talk about the 14th Amendment much because to us, it is such a simple, basic rule that goes beyond the Constitution, but rather into the lives of people and how we should treat people.

Section I of the amendment reads:

All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

The clause “equal protection under the law” means that people should be treated identically regardless of race, creed, gender, and also station in life. It means that where you work and live shouldn’t matter to the blindfolded lady holding the scales of justice.

For years now, we have slowly seem the idea that we are all under the same set of laws eroded.

The latest case is former FBI Director James Comey.

You may remember Comey and his heading of the botched investigation into the Hillary Clinton email servers where he determined there was wrong doing and Hillary had broken the law, but that he felt prosecutors should ignore the infraction.

Our friends over at Cause of Action have been fighting a battle to get Comey’s emails from his time as FBI Director released.

On June 14, 2018, after the Department of Justice (DOJ) Inspector General (IG) revealed “numerous instances in which Comey used a personal email account (a Gmail account) to conduct FBI business.” CoA Institute submitted FOIA requests to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the IG to obtain copies of that email correspondence.

After the agencies failed to respond to the requests in a timely fashion, CoA Institute filed a lawsuit on August 1, 2018 to bring transparency to Comey’s use of Gmail, which the IG had concluded was “inconsistent with the DOJ Policy Statement.”

We have seen this over and over from government agencies. Even though they are required by law to provide documents, the attitude seems to be “we’re work for the government. We aren’t required to follow laws.” That means that private citizens and groups like Cause of Action have to sue the government to get what the law demands the government provides. Of course, if you were to violate a law, the government would swoop down on you like a hawk seeing a field mouse.

But back to Comey…..

The FBI provided its first rolling production late last week. You can read and download the documents here.

The FBI reviewed 526 pages, released only 156 pages, and withheld 370 pages in full. Notably, the FBI withheld seven emails under the FOIA’s law enforcement exemption, which applies only where the government can show that (1) a law enforcement proceeding is pending or prospective, and (2) release of information about that proceeding could reasonably be expected to cause some articulable harm. These withholdings are particularly troubling given that Director Comey told the IG he only used personal email “to word process an unclassified [document] that was going to be disseminated broadly, [such as a] public speech or public email to the whole organization.” And according to news reports, Comey “stressed that his personal email was never used for classified or sensitive work.

The e-mails records released to CoA Institute show that Director Comey was aware that his use of personal email for government business would be seen as “embarrassing” to anyone who wasn’t aware of it previously.

The records also show that Director Comey used his Gmail to discuss the FBI’s investigation of Hillary Clinton’s email server. In other words, Comey was using a non-governmental email account while he was investigating Secretary Clinton for the same unlawful behavior.

Some will say that this is not a big deal, but the fact of the matter is that Comey was breaking the law by using a private email account and he will never be held accountable for it.


It is difficult for there to be any true reform and even legality in the government when government workers and employees protect each other. If you had illegal emails on your computer, you can bet your butt that the FBI would be all over it. One of the FBI’s own? Not so much.

We agree with CoA. This stuff matters.

In this case, as with nearly every instance, when public officials conduct business through unofficial channels, they are denying the public’s right to hold officials accountable through the most fundamentally sound principle of a healthy democracy: Transparency. Cause of Action Institute remains committed to holding government officials at all levels accountable and will continue to report on this case as the DOJ releases the more than 700 pages of Comey related emails that remain outstanding. (emphasis ours)

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