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Bureaucracy in Charge?

By Jane Brady, Co-Chair

Recently, the United States Supreme Court ruled 9 to 0 (that is, unanimously) that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) need not notify individuals whose financial records the government was going to access and review, if they were looking for monies owed by a delinquent taxpayer. The case was brought by the wife of a delinquent taxpayer and several law firms with which that individual did business. The Court rejected an argument that the government had to show that the delinquent taxpayer had some legal interest in the funds that the government was seeking to examine.

Why did this happen? Because the Congress passed a law that gave broad authority to the IRS, and therefore, the Court was “without jurisdiction” to impose any showing beyond what the statute required.

Similar, and equally unfair, circumstances have occurred in Delaware recently. Like Congress, the General Assembly has given away too much of its authority. During the Covid shut down, the Governor unilaterally, without any vote of the General Assembly, continued the declaration of emergency for over a year and a half. Many members of the General Assembly, both Republican and Democrat, wanted a say on behalf of their constituents regarding the extent and duration of that shut down.  But, without new legislation and affirmative effort, they were prohibited from any such vote. Why? Because the authority they gave to the Governor in the law upon which he was relying was so broad.

More recently, with regard to the electric vehicle mandate, the General Assembly had previously given broad authority to the Department of Natural Resources (DNREC) to make decisions about the implementation of regulations to achieve emission objectives. Now, DNREC, against the overwhelming opposition of Delaware citizens, and despite many members of the General Assembly opposing the mandate, seems prepared to impose strict regulations, forcing the sale of electric vehicles and, ultimately, prohibiting the sale of gas powered vehicles in Delaware.  Again, this action by DNREC, a government agency, is being taken without a vote by members of the General Assembly, who are to represent Delaware’s citizens.

It is time for Congress and the Delaware General Assembly to review legislation that has given the bureaucracies of government authority without the peoples’ representatives having a say in the adoption and implementation of policy.  It is time that the General Assembly and Congress return the power to the people – the people they represent. There is no accountability for the bureaucrats and their decisions without legislative oversight.