Emigrant Bank was recently identified to receive a waiver that would allow the bank to opt out of rigorous Dodd-Frank requirements. These of course are the same new rules and regulations that Barack deems essential to the nation. Yet when the bank’s owner, Howard Milstein, who is a close friend and was a bundler for President Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign, protested that the new rules would seriously crimp operations of his bank, the Obama Administration worked with members of congress to grant him a waiver from the new rules.
Other financial institutions and banks have consistently and vehemently argued that the Dodd-Frank Legislation that Obama championed is seriously flawed and will bring a raft of unintended consequence--but they were not friends of Barack Obama. These many other banks and institutions are not deemed worthy of a waiver.
Sadly, the case of Emigrant Bank is not the only example of the Obama Administration’s mercurial application of our nation’s laws. There is the obvious case, now being decided by the Supreme Court, of Obamacare, in which some (Nebraska´s Cornhusker’s Kickback or Louisiana’s Purchase) are allowed full exemption from the law’s requirements. What those who are exempted have in common is that, once again, friends of Obama can expect special exemptions from the rules and laws that others must follow.
There seem to be two sets of rules. The special, privileged class of people and businesses (Friends of Obama -FOO) can expect to be granted unique waivers, carve outs and shameful side deals designed to escape, to dodge, and to be exempted from much of the overreaching, poorly conceived legislation and administrative orders that Obama’s White House pushes with utter conviction on the rest of the nation.
On the other hand, if an organization, such as the Catholic Church, that is not a FOO, seeks a principled exemption to an emerging national policy, the organization is ridiculed, dismissed, and ignored.
This disgraceful double standard is becoming a standard practice in the Obama Administration.
Want more examples? Arne Duncan has recently allowed some 10 states to have exemptions from No Child Left Behind. No doubt the Teachers’ Unions in these states, critical to Obama’s reelection, were keen to ditch the pesky requirements for improved accountability. How much easier to call up friend in the White House and demand an exemption from rules and regulations that are not popular with Union members!
Consider too, the case of government-backed loans to Solyndra. Typically, in a government-backed loan, the government’s is the first debt that must be settled. But if one is a FOO, the rules are different. In that kind of situation, the debt to the federal government (read American taxpayer) is subrogated to that of a friend of Obama—not only friend, but, one of his largest campaign contributors. Other organizations and companies cannot expect similar sweetheart deals--they are not FOO.
Consider also, the case of the revolving door. The law for the Standards of Ethical Conduct for Employees of the Executive Branch, is very clear. The statute mandates a two year ban on any kind of direct involvement with a previous employer, client or co-worker. Unless, it seems, if one is a FOO. In that case, the rules are different, which seems to have exempted Craig Becker, former counsel for the Service employees International Union (SEIU) who, through an Obama Administration recess appointment, served as a member of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and who moved directly from there to his current position serving as general counsel to the AFL-CIO.
No time off or recusal needed for FOOs.
What does it mean for the country that the Obama Administration spends so much time exempting certain privileged individuals and businesses from the law?
Under Obama, will the United States devolve into a nation where laws are negotiable and will be applied differently for different people, as long as they belong to a special interest group that wants to opt out of the law and that also happens to be a friend of the president?
Our nation could once proudly boast of our national adherence to the Rule of Law. Every American should expect and demand equal treatment under the law, and special friends of the president should not expect or apply a different set of laws for themselves.
But, Barack Obama doesn’t seem to understand this basic principle that governs our nation, and , instead, seems to think that laws are flexible and the rules apply to others. (“Others” means anyone who is not a Friend of Obama-FOO).
Somewhere inside the White House, it is likely that yet another czar is employed to process the many requests for special treatment and waivers from the many new rules and regulations that Barack Obama has inflicted on the rest of the nation.
FOO have learned to expect special exemptions. The unlucky others are not only expected to follow those same rules, but to do so knowing full well that other, more connected FOO are escaping the burdensome new costs, and can avoid the intrusive requirements.
What a deal.