Justice Corrupted: How the Left Weaponized Our Legal System
By Ted Cruz
Oct. 2022 by Regnery Publishing
$14.99 hardcover or Kindle
Reviewed by Gila Hayes
“The corruption of the Department of Justice and the FBI is a terrible thing, deeply corrosive to our nation,” observes Senator Ted Cruz in his book about the devastating result of government bureaucracies persecuting opponents of the party in power. There’s no shortage of examples by both Republican and Democrat presidents.
It’s not supposed to work that way. In a democratic system, when people are angry, elected officials are supposed to listen, Cruz observes. Elected officials don’t have to agree on the substance—that’s why we have elections—but the First Amendment to our Constitution explicitly protects the right of the people to “petition their government for the redress of grievances.” He cites examples of abuse of authority from school boards up to the US Department of Justice which, he writes, acts as if it is “accountable to no one—not to members of Congress, and certainly not to the American people.”
Citing the experience of parents in Loudoun County, VA who were harassed after demanding changes from their school board, Cruz wonders, shouldn’t the US Attorney General “study the facts of the case before sending the FBI out to investigate” citizens? In this example, the Attorney General “targeted...and singled out as a potential domestic terrorist” a “courageous father” who sought the prosecution of the transgender student who raped his daughter at school.
Throughout history, citizens have tried to limit the brutality of rulers who seized unlimited power, through a variety of means including religion, powerful statements like the Magna Carta and the principles America’s Founders drew from English common law. The ideals weren’t always honored, though, and Cruz gives the example of the USSC Dred Scott decision. On the other hand, he continues, President Ulysses Grant’s Attorney General brought 3,384 indictments and got 1,143 convictions against the Ku Klux Klan for terrorizing freed slaves.
Cruz writes that the “Department of Justice should not be Republican or Democrat. It should be utterly apolitical, and the attorney general should enforce the law fairly and justly regardless of party affiliation.” He reviews presidential political pressure delivered by the Department of Justice, the Attorney General and the president’s chief of staff and other aides, starting with Richard Nixon. Despite Nixon’s orders, Cruz relates, the IRS refused “repeatedly to audit and harass various political enemies” and J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI “actually refused to carry out many of the more sinister tasks assigned ... by the Nixon White House.” 50 years ago, the system worked and for the most part it continued to work until the 2008 election of Barack Obama, Cruz writes.
Even when Al Gore refused to concede the election to President George W. Bush, the system worked. While a young lawyer, Cruz was dispatched to Florida with the Bush legal team, where he witnessed the shenanigans the Gore contingent attempted. Those astonishing violations were only a hint of the blatant illegalities he would see in the Obama election eight years later. By the 2012 election, attempts to uncover voter fraud were characterized as “an attack on democracy,” as racist, or, if incontrovertible, as too limited to be of national concern.
Cruz tells the story of Catherine Engelbrecht, who volunteered as an election worker, but saw such irregularities that she became a political activist and rose to some notoriety. As her organization gained prominence, the EPA, OSHA, a TX environmental agency and the IRS attacked, investigating and fining Engelbrecht’s small business and family members after she filed for 501(c)(3) status for her organization True the Vote. Political persecution by IRS agents is nothing new, Cruz relates. In the 1930s, Franklin Delano Roosevelt sent the agency against opponents of New Deal legislation. Cruz quotes the president’s son, Elliott Roosevelt, who wrote that his father, “‘may have been the originator of employing the IRS as a method of political retribution,’ joking that ‘other men’s taxes… fascinated him’ throughout his time in office.” John F. Kennedy and his brother Attorney General Robert Kennedy distributed a memo The Ideological Organizations Audit Project, to deny or revoke conservative organizations’ non profit status.
Both political parties are guilty: a Nixon aide noted if the administration couldn’t prevail in “criminal prosecutions to curtail the activities of some of these groups,” an IRS investigation could be launched. The FBI, CIA and NSA were also useful tools, not only for Nixon’s vendettas, but for presidents Hoover, Roosevelt and Kennedy, too, Cruz accounts. Fast forward to the 2012 election and revenge for the Tea Party’s stance against Obama’s liberal agenda. While Obama claimed to be angry about IRS harassment of conservatives, when IRS chief Lois Lerner was investigated, she refused to answer incriminating questions and retired unpunished, with her pension intact.
Although powerful, the IRS is not the only tool: Cruz cites the FBI and Department of Justice’s inept campaign to smear President Trump with Russia-gate, which failed to earn any criticism from the courts or news media. He contrasts the anti-Trump efforts against lukewarm coverage of Hillary Clinton’s illegal private email server.
Cruz discusses politicization of the judiciary, detailing why he told Trump he would decline nomination to the Supreme Court. He explains, “Principled judges stay out of political and policy fights...I don’t want to stay out of political and policy fights; I want to lead them. And the elected branches of government are the proper arena to wage those battles.”
He analyzes critical race theory’s purposeful distortion of terminology to promote Marxism, and its rise through prestigious universities. Cruz recalls his studies in the 1990s at Princeton and Harvard as part of “a student body ... bitterly divided. It was during those years that another group of left-wing radicals, now obsessed with race, gender, and sexuality rather than just economics, attempted once again to re-engineer the virus of Marxism and spread it all over the world,” he writes. The theory might have taken root at Harvard, but soon teachers and administrators had the influence to teach elementary school students that America was founded to perpetuate slavery, and to make white children “acknowledge their roles as oppressors and Black children to embrace their roles as the oppressed.”
In the next chapter Cruz studies bail reform promoted through the argument “That charging money to be released from prison before trial was unfair to criminals, particularly criminals of color.” Prosecutors and district attorneys acknowledged release of criminals would harm innocent citizens, yet still they continued to turn them loose on the public. In Waukesha, WI one such offender was released again and again until eventually he drove his SUV into a Christmas parade killing six and injuring more than 60 spectators.
Often the policies that release repeat offenders are the dictates of district attorneys and prosecutors, but are not law, Cruz emphasizes. “When it comes to the prosecution of criminals, there are few elected officials with more power than your district attorney. As soon as they’re elected, district attorneys have the power to decide what crimes to prosecute in your county and whom to prosecute.” Outside money gained influence over local criminal justice in many elections during the past decade and those prosecutors “used their immense discretionary power to achieve their benefactor’s goal of remaking the U.S. justice system from the bottom up.” Examples include the Illinois State’s Attorney policy not to prosecute thefts under $1,000; in Baltimore, the prosecutor announced the war on drugs was over; Seattle’s mayor, herself a former federal prosecutor, whitewashed pulling police out of the “autonomous zone,” and described it as a “peaceful expression” of Seattle’s desire to build a better world despite two murders, four shootings and multiple rapes.
In chapter 6, Cruz takes on a topic that, of all the national decay during my lifetime, tops my list of concerns. Addressing election fraud, he starts by outlining the push to convert to mail-in elections, and identifies the many issues afflicting the 2020 presidential election. “There are few better ways to ensure fraud—or the perception of fraud—than the widespread use of mail-in ballots,” Cruz warns. Endless recounts, malfunctioning voting machines, interminably long lines at polling places all plagued the 2020 election, and in the end, even the Supreme Court failed voters by refusing to hear several cases about corruption of the election.
Through Justice Corrupted runs the theme of Department of Justice persecution of citizens who oppose the politicians in power at the time. Dinesh D’Souza is a well-known victim of political prosecution, writes Cruz, detailing a campaign funding violation D’Souza committed as a young man, and the post-conviction conditions he endured, while continuing to speak out against Obama. Cruz provides perspective by recounting events leading to conviction of the vice president’s chief of staff Scooter Libby during the Bush-Cheney presidency, and the posthumous exoneration of Alaska Senator Ted Stephens when an investigator revealed that the federal prosecutors knowingly hid evidence and allowed false testimony during trial.
Interestingly, the day I read this chapter, news reports trumpeted the indictment of New Jersey Senator Robert Menendez on federal bribery charges. Five years earlier, Menendez had been accused of criminal corruption, Justice Corrupted suggests in revenge for Menendez’ opposition to Obama’s Iran nuclear deal. Today’s news raised more questions about incomplete and unreliable news, why the Democrats prosecuted one of their own, and whether two years after writing this book, Cruz would have denounced Menendez. As with the late Ted Stephens’ downfall, whether there exists exculpatory evidence is unknown and unlike the Stephens debacle, may never come to light.
I appreciated the historic perspectives in Justice Corrupted. Cruz observes, “The Democratic Party in the United States had changed in a fundamental way. The party has been fully radicalized.” Biden’s appointees to the Supreme Court, the Justice Department and other key posts overwhelmingly went to partisan zealots, resulting in federal government interference in Georgia legislation to stop election fraud and Attorney General Garland’s pledge to oppose new election laws from other largely-Republican states. “He promised that the federal government would take action to stop these laws from being enacted,” Cruz reports. Similarly, the Justice Department warned several states against legislation empowering parents to address gender-change influences focused on children.
One can scarcely criticize a book written by a politician for being too political, so I’ll just acknowledge that with Network members spanning a broad spectrum of political, religious and personal viewpoints, Senator Ted Cruz’ third book won’t be popular with all members. Nor is it a ray of sunshine. The depth of government corruption he describes resembles metastasized cancer, but Justice Corrupted does provide needed perspective on the problems we face. I am glad I read it.