Who Controls the Executive Branch?

Under the Constitution, the President exercises all executive authority. But we do not live under the government that is described in the Constitution. We live in a society that is dominated by the Fourth Branch of government, the unelected bureaucracy that is nowhere mentioned in the Constitution. And the Fourth Branch is increasingly declaring its independence from the elected officials to whom it ostensibly reports–that is to say, from the voters.

Thus the current spectacle in Washington, D.C., where the federal bureaucracy, all of which nominally reports to President Trump, is largely dedicated to overthrowing him. The Department of Justice is the most notorious instance, but Mark Krikorian illuminates more examples of *independent* bureaucracies. The subject is the murder of Mollie Tibbetts in Iowa.

The murderer, an illegal alien, had little trouble living in this country for years, interacting with a variety of government agencies, in part because some of those agencies apparently subscribe to a code of silence:

Tibbetts’s killer is reported to have lived in the United States for seven years, from age 17, and worked at an Iowa dairy farm for four of those years. He worked on the books, having used a stolen identity to get past the Social Security–number check (not E-Verify) used by his employer. His lawyer said that the killer “diligently filed tax returns legally with the IRS.” He had a car registered in someone else’s name and managed to drive for years without a license. He had a child with a high-school classmate of Tibbetts’s, meaning he was presumably listed as the father on the birth certificate.

That’s a lot of interaction with our institutions. That an illegal alien can do all that — for years — without raising a red flag represents a profound failure of policy. For instance: He used someone else’s identity to get the dairy-farm job — was the rightful owner of that identity notified when his Social Security number was used to check employment eligibility? If I make a change online to my bank account, I receive an email notifying me of the change so that if it was done improperly I can alert the bank. There is no such notification for the use of our most important personal identifiers, and the Social Security Administration resists the very suggestion of coordination with the immigration authorities to identify illegal aliens in the work force.

The killer filed tax returns, presumably using the stolen identity. Was the victim of this identity theft notified that another tax return was being filed in his name? Again, no — the IRS refuses cooperation with the Department of Homeland Security, even when it knows the filer is an illegal alien (as when a filer provides an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number on the tax return but has a different, stolen number on the W-2 form).

So the Social Security Administration and the IRS are not cooperating in the enforcement of federal law, which is the prime duty of the executive branch, according to Article II of the Constitution. President Trump runs both of those agencies. Why can’t he make them shape up? That question is the key to understanding American politics in the 21st Century.

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