The police chiefs of Baltimore County and of Oklahoma City recently wrote a lobbying article for “thehill” Senate Must Pass a Strong Background Checking Law supporting pending legislation. Baltimore County Police also released this article on its website and emailed it to recipients of its email crime alerts. I could not help recalling it is a criminal offense under 18 USC, 1913, to use federal funds, either directly or indirectly, to lobby or otherwise try to influence congress, by “advertisement, telegram, telephone, letter, printed or written matter, or other device, intended or designed to influence in any manner a Member of Congress, a jurisdiction, or an official of any government, to favor, adopt, or oppose, by vote or otherwise, any legislation…”
I wonder how much federal money these agencies receive.
Even if DOJ said it is not a technical violation since they wrote it in their capacity as members of a private entity, and it must be okay since they support the administration’s position, that entity’s own documents clearly assert its policy agenda. It is at best a poor use of these administrators’ positions, and a misuse of county emails and website resources. In January the Baltimore Sun reported on Baltimore County Police Chief Johnson’s testimony before the Senate Judicial Committee:
Speaking at an emotional hearing on federal gun control proposals, Baltimore County Police Chief James W. Johnson urged lawmakers Wednesday to close loopholes and ban assault weapon sales or risk more tragedies like the recent elementary school shooting in Connecticut. Johnson, wearing his uniform, spent nearly four hours offering law enforcement’s case for tighter gun laws, confronting a well-known witness — National Rifle Association CEO Wayne LaPierre — and noting the proliferation of guns sometimes makes police work “creepy.”
If you guys want to have an impact, get out of the office, (but stay out of Washington. Nothing good ever happens there) grab a donut, and hit the “creepy” streets.
The vast majority of street cops believe you are simply wrong.