Divide Government into More Independent Branches

New branches of the Federal Government would increase democracy in several respects. They would allow people to separate issues for separate votes.

i.)        Anti-corruption Branch. An independently elected branch could be constituted with the sole power and duty to root out corrupt politicians, government officials, and judges. This branch would itself be divided into an executive branch, legislative branch (such as a board of directors), and judicial branch. The branch could bring charges against a politician that willingly violates the Constitution.

ii.)       Government Systems Research and Development Branch. This branch should be devoted to recommending improvements in the system, and methods for transitioning from the current system to the improved system. Members of this branch should be drawn from the health, engineering, science, and moral disciplines (moral disciplines could include historians, ethicists, philosophers, and religious authorities).

Scientific methods may be applied to areas of the law. More particularly, scientific testing methods may be used to determine the value and consistent application of various legal “standards”. The reliability of evidentiary standards may be scientifically tested. Testing of inputs and outputs of legal subsystems may be performed to gauge reliability. For example, an old and well known invention may be used to form a new patent application as a test of the patent system, to see if the patent system issues and enforces such a patent. Similarly defective filings may be made with the SEC, FDA, IRS and other agencies as appropriate. These types of systems tests must be performed by truly independent agencies. While the GAO and IG may perform some watchdog functions for federal agencies, they are still controlled by the president, who has a fundamental conflict of interest in exposing problems within the executive branch.

This branch could further include a criminal research division, to anticipate and plug holes in the security of the system which could be exploited by criminals.

iii.)      Information Branch. (Note that this item is also discussed under executive branch reforms). Information is power, and too much access to information in the hands of the government is bad for the system. The government needs information about people, but the executive branch shouldn’t be trusted to keep all the databases and not to misuse them to further agglomerate power. There should be a separate information branch that controls government access to big databases of information, to prevent misuse of the information for personal and partisan reasons. This is already generally recognized institutionally in the government, but the safeguards against misuse of power are too susceptible to the will of a malevolent executive official.

Example:      A system of satellites could be used to provide near real-time imagery of the earth with very high resolution, to locate any one or any thing. These certainly exist today. The government uses it for its own purposes, and doesn’t allow, for example, these things to be used for searching for lost children, or other useful tasks. An Information branch could safeguard this capability from misuse, while providing access to both the government and the people as necessary. An independent Information branch, whose officials are answerable to the people, would serve as a check on government abuse of power, greed, and overreach, and become a liberating force in the lives of citizens.

iv.)      Government Personnel Branch. There should be a separate branch of government that protects non-partisan government workers from use for partisan purposes. This is already recognized in the civil service system, but it needs to be institutionalized.

v.)        Attorney General/Justice Department. (Note that this item is also discussed under executive branch reforms). The Justice Department has a role in ensuring that anyone who breaks the law is brought to justice. The obvious conflict of interest that occurs when executive branch employees break the law could be dispelled by having the Attorney General elected separately, and the Justice Department funded separately from the rest of the Executive Branch. A check could be placed on the Justice Department by explicitly allowing the Attorney General of any of the 50 states to bring charges against any Justice Department employee who breaks the law, but the charges could only be brought in a Federal Court. This reform falls under the category of “rule of law” and “nobody is above the law”.

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *