Police Chief Tim Kelemen just closed a plea deal for using local Tea Party leader Greg Luce's personal information to sign him up for gay dating websites, pornography websites, and - the icing on the cake - HealthCare.gov.
These actions could fall under the definition of identity theft, which carries serious penalties. Depending on the severity, the fraudulent use of another's identifying information could earn up to 15 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Why did the police chief flagrantly break the public's trust? Over a political disagreement.
Kelemen and Luce had ongoing conflict about the Tea Party's rights to hold signs on an interstate overpass bridge. The police department ordered members to stop, citing safety concerns, but the activists held the signs to be an exercise of free speech. Kelemen was disturbed by a flood of calls and emails to the police department by Tea Party supporters, so he attacked Kelemen where it would hurt - his reputation.
As punishment for his "bizarre act of vengeance," Kelemen received one misdemeanor count of unlawful use of a computerized communication system. If he serves 40 hours of community service and sees a mental-health counselor, the charges will be dismissed in two years.
No jail time. No fines. Not even any damages paid to Luce. And Kelemen remains on paid leave.
Luce calls the deal a "slap on the wrist." Comments from readers on National Review Online agree that this sentence is far from sufficient:
When the police, who are fiduciaries of public trust, commit crimes, the punishment should at least include taking away the position of public trust.
The power of a public employees union saved the job of a corrupt police chief and ensured that he received nothing more than a slap on the wrist for accessing and revealing to unauthorized third parties a citizen's personal information as a means of punishing the citizen for political views he disagreed with. I hope the taxpayers of Campbell, Wisconsin don't mind paying a criminal for a mental health vacation.
Too bad the Police Chief does not work for the IRS, they would give him a promotion and a raise.
It is disturbing that a member of law enforcement would do something like this to a political "enemy." But it's even more disturbing that he'd get away with very few consequences.
Just as we've seen on a federal level, people who hold certain political beliefs in our country are not deemed worthy of the full protection of the law. Instead, the government bureaucrats who target them are rewarded.
It's time to remind the government who is supposed to be serving whom.
Mark Meckler is the President of Citizens for Self-Governance, which created the Convention of States Project.