Editorial: No more bad-boy bailouts

Why should we be on the hook for officials’ own misconduct?

If you’ve got a “there oughta be a law” list, put this one at the top:

 

No public official committing an illegal or unconstitutional act should cost taxpayers, or their insurers, a dime for having done it.

Want some examples?

Here’s Exhibit A, from right here in Georgia.

Worth County Sheriff Jeff Hobby has now officially cost that county’s strapped taxpayers $3 million in a legal settlement for having ordered an unconstitutional mass drug search of some 850 high school students April 14.

In a four-hour-long ordeal, writes The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, “The boys and girls were ordered to leave their classrooms and line up with their hands against the wall and legs spread. Deputies searched their clothing and bodies, and some students said they felt sexually violated by officers.”

It’s difficult to find the words to describe precisely how moronic and illegal the sheriff’s actions were. But let’s start with the Constitution.

The Fourth Amendment is fairly clear on such matters:

“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

In summation, you need probable cause to search, and a warrant must be very specific about what you’re looking for where and why.

That means no fishing expeditions, no mass searches, even of children or youths held captive in a school.

What part of that does this bozo with a badge not get? Does he not fathom what a police-state that actions such as his would create? Has he never heard of government tyranny?

It’s nice that the bulk of the $3 million will go to the students – but for taxpayers, the bill is adding insult to injury.

Insurance will pay the freight this time around, but there’s no free lunch; such incidents only increase the cost and necessity for such insurance.

This is only one of the most grievous and costly abuses of power you’ll see; there are many more examples of taxpayers or their insurers paying the tab for wayward and even criminal public officials.

Speaking of Congress…

Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif., alleged in congressional testimony Tuesday that “there’s about $15 million that has been paid out by the House on behalf of harassers (sexual and otherwise) in the last 10 to 15 years.”

First off, such settlements with public officials should be public information. Secondly, they should come out of the offenders’ pockets, not ours or our insurers’.

Why on God’s green Earth should taxpayers be financing boorish, loutish, monkey business – or actual crimes and misdemeanors – by those on our payroll?

It’s time to put an end to the outrage.

No more bad-boy bailouts.

 

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