Opinion

Our Government Engaged In EXTORTION With Our Banks!

By Judge Andrew NapolitanoFOX News Senior Judicial Analyst

The Federal government committed extortion and they're not being held accountable. What's next? Listen to this: I recently met with the Chair and CEO of one of the country's top 10 bank holding companies. His bank is worth in excess of $250 billion, has no bad debt, no credit default swaps, no liquidity problems, and no subprime loans. He told me that he and others were forced by Treasury and FDIC threats to take TARP funds, even though he did not want or need them.

There is simply no authority in the U.S. Constitution for Congress to exercise the level of control it now seeks over private industry.

He pleaded with the Feds to leave his successful bank alone. He begged his board to let him tell the Feds to take a hike. But they gave in. The Feds are now just a tiny shareholder, but want to begin asserting more and more control. This is a classic extortion: Controlling someone's free will by threatening to perform a lawful act. (Blackmail is the threat is to perform an unlawful act in order to control someone else's free will.) There are no exceptions in the statutes prohibiting extortion for government persons

This happened in September 2008, but the demands for more control are more recent. It sounds to me like Paulson, Geithner, Bernanke, and Sheila Blair have all read a biography of Benito Mussolini. I guess they skipped the last chapter.

There is simply no authority in the U.S. Constitution for Congress to exercise the level of control it now seeks over private industry. In fact, this level of control will wind up costing the businesses that took TARP (voluntarily or involuntarily) money since they will lose key employees who will go to work elsewhere and because the reporting requirements will take time and time is money. The Constitution basically says that if the government wants to take time or freedom or money from someone or something, it must sue for it. It cannot just give itself the authority to do so via legislation.

Our liberties are slipping away right before our eyes.

Andrew P. Napolitano, a former judge of the Superior Court of New Jersey, is the senior judicial analyst at Fox News Channel. 

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