At the height of the heated campaign for president in August of 2012, then-Majority Leader Harry Reid stood on the floor of the U.S. Senate and smeared Mitt Romney as a millionaire tax dodger. Reid claimed the Republican nominee paid no taxes for ten years.

In Reid’s world it is perfectly acceptable to conjure a complete fiction if you can throw an election and subvert the democratic process.

It was an audacious and deceitful claim because Reid possessed no evidence. He presented not a scrap of proof… because none existed. He appeared to invent the accusation out of thin air in a brazen ploy to turn votes away from Romney in favor of Obama.

In Reid’s world it is perfectly acceptable to conjure a complete fiction if you can throw an election and subvert the democratic process.

When pressed by reporters, Reid offered up a classic in prevarications, sputtering something about how he heard it from someone. Who exactly? He refused to say. How convenient.

Fast forward a couple of years and Reid is still impenitent. In a recent interview with Jorge Ramos of "Fusion," the now-Minority Leader was asked if he purposely lied back then. With a smirk on his face, Reid admitted, “Of course he (Romney) paid taxes.”

Yet Reid refused to apologize for making a mendacious charge that impugned Romney’s reputation. He expressed not a whiff of regret or remorse for slandering a presidential nominee a scant three months before voters went to the polls.

Indeed, he continued to brag about his canard in another interview with CNN's Dana Bash, saying the fabrication was justified because “Romney didn’t win, did he?” In other words, in Reid’s world it is perfectly acceptable to conjure a complete fiction if you can throw an election and subvert the democratic process.

Reid’s aspersion by itself did not do that, although it is difficult to gauge what impact it had on voters. Compared to Obama, Romney ran a poorly engineered campaign which was the likely cause of his electoral demise. But Reid, with an inflated sense of self-importance, seems to think he single-handedly defeated Romney with his yarn about taxes. The salient point is this: he was emboldened by a law which grants him unfettered freedom to lie and defame.

The Founding Fathers would be ashamed. And thus, Harry Reid is the reason why senators and representatives should no longer be given absolute immunity for the reckless and venomous words they spew on the floor of Congress.

For too long, they have abused the privilege and trust granted them by the Framers of the Constitution. The law must now be changed. No more legal protection from slander. Only lawsuits will force them to stop lying within the halls of Congress.

When the Constitution was crafted, the Framers included the “Speech or Debate Clause” in Article I, Section, 6. It offers an absolute privilege from liability for defamation for anything uttered on the floors of Congress. The Founding Fathers wanted lawmakers to engage in spirited debate, but feared that Senators and Congressmen might hurl invectives at one other. Ensuing defamation lawsuits might chill an otherwise vigorous debate. Thus, absolute immunity was granted.

What the Framers did not anticipate, but should have, is that an unscrupulous lawmaker might use his position on the floor of the chamber to defame someone who is not a member of Congress.

In 1954, Joseph McCarthy used his power as a Senator to damage the reputation of a great many people with false accusations in his communist witch-hunt. His denunciations always took place on the floor of the Senate or in committee hearings, where the privilege against defamation attached. The law granting immunity should have been expunged from the Constitution back then.

Years later, Harry Reid cast himself in the McCarthy mold, hiding behind a legal privilege so he could say anything he pleases, truth be damned. It is the worst kind of dishonesty and perfidy because it hurts people. And Reid is the worst kind of offender because he could not care less.

Had this immunity been removed from the Constitution after McCarthy abused it, Reid would have either been constrained from slander or had almost no defense thereto. His lawyer would have been left to argue that Romney suffered no actual damage because no one ever believes anything Reid says.

One of the great Supreme Court Justices, Joseph Story, recognized the mistake the Founders wrought when he wrote, “No man ought to have the right to defame others under the colour of a performance of the duties of his office. Every citizen has as good a right to be protected by the laws from malignant scandal, and false charges, and defamatory imputations, as a member of congress has to utter them in his seat.”

The year was 1833. Justice Story was prescient. He knew it was only a matter of time before scoundrels would emerge to abuse their Constitutional privilege and breach the trust of their high office.

Gregg Jarrett is a Fox News Anchor and former defense attorney.