Albany, NY — In the land of the free, the court and legal systems, as well as law enforcement, operate on two separate planes—one for the politically connected class, and one for everyone else. In case after corrupt case, cops, politicians, judges, and law makers are busted committing often horrific crimes and they face no consequences. The most recent egregious example of this separate treatment under the law comes out of New York and involves the state’s top official, the governor.
Last week, during a political gathering in the Adirondacks, Gov. Andrew Cuomo admitted to breaking a federal law, continuing to break the law, and noted how he treasured breaking the law. Not surprisingly, no investigation was launched, no fines levied, and the governor of New York went about life as usual.
The crime Cuomo admitted to committing and continuing to commit deals with a federal law that prohibits non-Native Americans from possessing bald eagle parts, including feathers. The law is decades old and is part of the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act of 1940.
During the event in which he was announcing an economic development grant for the village of Saranac Lake, Cuomo took time out of the speech to reflect on the time that he and his family took an eagle feather from the lake and noted how they continue to proudly display it at their home.
“And one of the highlight moments was on Saranac Lake when we were in a canoe and we were taking a canoe trip and out of nowhere, from one of the islands, an eagle came out and, like, swooped down right next to us with this beautiful, graceful glide,” Cuomo said.
“And when the eagle was just about at front of the canoe, one feather fell out,” he said. “And we picked up that feather and I have it on my fireplace to this day.”
The Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act, amended several times since its passage in 1940, prohibits anyone without a federal permit from disturbing, taking or possessing eagle parts, eggs or nests. Violating the act can result in a fine of up to $100,000, imprisonment for one year, or both, for a first offense, according to the Fish and Wildlife Service’s website.
Under the law, only specially authorized and permitted members of Native American tribes can possess eagle feathers, which are used in ceremonies and rituals.
The AP originally caught the issue and reached out to a Cuomo spokesperson who said the family was unaware of the law.
However, as statist after statist has recounted for decades, “ignorance of the law is no defense against breaking it.”
According to the Washington Times, officials at the Fish and Wildlife Service declined to comment on Cuomo possessing an eagle feather and referred questions to the U.S. Department of Justice. The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Albany didn’t respond to a request for comment.
No one here is advocating for someone to be fined $100,000 or face a year in prison for picking up an eagle feather that fell into a lake as this is just silly. However, the double standard in this case is glaring and deserves attention.
Indeed, federal agents have raided tribes—who are legally allowed to possess eagle feathers—and made arrests and seized feathers.
But it gets worse. The federal government spends millions of dollars a year enforcing this eagle feather law. They run covert operations with names like Operation Pow Wow, Operation Silent Wilderness, and Operation Game Thief. Across the nation, people have faced heavy fines and even been imprisoned for similar acts that governor Cuomo admitted to doing.
However, as this case illustrates, those who are inside the system are subject to a different set of laws than the serf class. Until society refuses to tolerate this hypocrisy, we can only expect this problem to get worse.