Congressman Mark Sanford Explains Why Giving Military Equipment to Local Police Is A Bad Idea

The Obama Administration appropriately placed limits on military hardware given to local law enforcement. The prior program to do this was rife with waste and corruption. Fiscal conservatives, such as Congressman Mark Sanford, applauded the move when announced in 2015.

Whether President Donald Trump is any type of conservative or not, he is in no way a fiscal conservative. The administration recently announced the removal of Obama-era limits as another political gesture towards “law and order” conservatives.

In line with other libertarian conservatives, Congressman Mark Sanford came out strongly against the move to expand the 1033 program.

In a lengthy Facebook post, Congressman Mark Sanford explained why giving military equipment to local police is a bad idea:

Today, the administration decided to reinstate the so-called 1033 program, which allows the Department of Defense to transfer surplus military equipment to state and local law enforcement agencies at no cost.

Can we just admit that this is crazy?

Our federal government is $20 trillion in debt, and now we’re going to begin a giveaway program from the federal government to local and state law enforcement agencies. This program has been heavily abused because we oftentimes discount the things we get for free and value the things that we pay for.

Let me give you one example.

Back when I was governor, I walk into a small county sheriff’s office, and they tell me that the sheriff isn’t available – he’s out taking helicopter lessons. Mind you, this is a very small county; yet his office had received seven jet-powered helicopters because helicopters were the sheriff’s thing. The lessons he was taking weren’t for free, the jet-fuel he was burning wasn’t for free…. and in fact, the helicopters that came from the federal government weren’t really free either.

I could give you a lot of other examples that I saw over my years as governor on this one, but the long and short of it is that, even purely from an accounting standpoint, it’s a mistake. It causes us to overstate the cost of the federal government and to understate the cost of local government. It also leads to a lot of strange choices, as the seven helicopter example shows.

In any case, I think this decision is a step backwards for the taxpayer. Indeed, I introduced a bill last Congress, the Responsible Law Enforcement Acquisition Act of 2016, in an attempt to curtail this program, and I would just ask that you take the time to look under the hood on this issue, given the way in which things your federal taxes have paid for will now be given away for free.

I just put out a press release explaining my reasoning and thought you might like to give it a read.

The press release that Sanford mentions further explains why he opposes reopening the 1033 program.

In addition to the waste he saw firsthand, the equipment being handed over has cost taxpayers over $5 billion since its inception. If the police actually need that equipment, they should be able to pay for it and reduce the federal government’s burden.

Congressman Mark Sanford is expected to reintroduce his legislation to curtail the 1033 program this Congress in response to the Trump administration’s move.

(Photo of Congressman Mark Sanford by Gage Skidmore used with permission.)



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The Jack News brings a fresh pragmatism to our political world. We are committed to freedom, common sense, and choices beyond nationalism and progressivism. We want smaller government and more individual liberty.

Latest comments

  • Listen up the idea to have surplus military vehicles and equipment isn’t such a bad idea. If solely we are talking about the freebie and dollar value, then place bids to purchase them with guideline that they be used by approved law enforcement, fire department which meets certain guidelines. County swat as well as sheriffs and FD can use vehicles for mass evacuation such as ongoing in Texas. Certainly chief law enforcement must demonstrate a need for a piece in their local and should be approved by government officials, that’s where there is no oversight. With domestic terrorism I welcome these pieces if used to protect the innocent lives in our country.

    • Wishful thinking

    • As long as people like Joe Arpiao exist in law enforcement, this type of equipment will be abused

    • Buses are better for mass evacuation than an armored car.

    • Some would think to have a militarized police is good. For example Stalin’s was like that. As long as we can crush the protesters, that’s all that really matters.

    • Domestic terrorism is here folks. 1st line of defense is local law enforcement. Let’s be real, I want a strong defense. I think what’s wrong is a broken and unaccountability from our elected leaders. Certainly some military equipment is not totally necessary, yet I rather have the good guys have them to protect us from the bad guy. Question who are the bad guys, I’m starting to wonder why we fight among ourselves instead of uniting together.

    • unite as one aryian nation? not gonna happen pal

    • Rod Kronhjort – absolutely not. I guess America dead doomed, I was referring toward one nation under God, with liberty, justice for all. Where all men and women are treated equal under the law. I don’t believe any race is greater then the other, I don’t support far left it far right wing agenda. I think if we stop fighting over **** like that, maybe we could actually be great! Silly me, guess I’m dreaming.

    • yeah. i’m not uniting with the aryian nation. they don’t have ‘rights’ to subvert or usurp US people and US government. putin sure is manly though.

  • For one thing you don’t need that kind of equipment on the Appalachian Trail.

  • Better to give to our law enforcement, than giving it to our enemy’s like the last administration….

  • Yes, Adams needs 3 tanks 7 a few choppers !! This is getting exciting !!

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