The Weaponization of Government is Worse Than You Think

The Weaponization of Government is Worse Than You Think


  • The federal government has been increasingly using its authority and power to unequally target groups and individuals based on their political or ideological views.
  • The weaponization of government in pursuit of political gain is a dangerous threat to democracy.
  • Congress must exercise its oversight authorities to ensure that prudence and objectivity guide the executive branch’s administration of justice.


Reflecting on a perennial problem of republican government in Federalist #51, James Madison observed that “In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself” (National Archives, 1788).

Americans’ civil and religious liberties depend on the enforcement of wise laws. But the awesome power of government can be abused by those entrusted to preserve public order and administer its services. When civil servants cease to regard all Americans as equal before the law and instead use the power entrusted to them to target individuals based on their politics, religious beliefs, or the color of their skin, they undermine core tenets of our constitutional order.

The recent Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) raid on former President Donald J. Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence was the starkest reminder yet that the equal application of the law often rests under a cloud of uncertainty. Never before has an administration used the law enforcement authority of the federal government to target a former American president.

Alarmingly, this was not an isolated occurrence. In fact, the Biden Administration has frequently used governmental authority to target conservative actors in a wide variety of contexts. Combined with other incidents throughout the Obama Administration, these examples demonstrate a pattern of government abuse.

The America First Policy Institute (AFPI) has compiled a sampling of egregious abuses of executive authority that have taken place during the past several years. Together, they point to the urgent need for congressional oversight hearings, a renewed investigation by Inspectors General, and comprehensive civil service reform.

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