Felons, secret service, Trump, Bennie Thompson, bill

Rep. Bennie Thompson Introduces Bill–Aimed At Trump–To Strip Secret Service From Felons

Thompson’s bill is seen as an attempt to reckon with the possibility of former President Trump serving a prison sentence.

Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss), the ranking member of the Committee on Homeland Security, introduced a bill on April 19 that would take away the Secret Service protection detail from any former official convicted of a felony demanding at least a year in prison. 

Thompson’s bill, the Denying Infinite Security and Government Resources Allocated toward Convicted and Extremely Dishonorable (DISGRACED) Former Protectees Act, (H.R. 8081), is seen as an attempt to reckon with the possibility of former President Trump serving a prison sentence. 

As The Hill reports, Trump is the only figure afforded Secret Service protection who is currently facing felony charges. Trump is accused of 91 felonies across four state and federal cases. In a statement, Thompson provided some context for the introduction of his bill. There have been arguments from some legal experts that Trump would be allowed to serve house arrest because of the Secret Service detail and not prison time if he is convicted. 

“Unfortunately, current law doesn’t anticipate how Secret Service protection would impact the felony prison sentence of a protectee — even a former President.”

Thompson continued, “It is regrettable that it has come to this, but this previously unthought-of scenario could become our reality. Therefore, it is necessary for us to be prepared and update the law so the American people can be assured that protective status does not translate into special treatment — and that those who are sentenced to prison will indeed serve the time required of them.”

According to the bill’s fact sheet, “Under current law, Secret Service protection is authorized for some current and former high-level officials and their immediate families. Current law does not contemplate how such protection would occur—or whether it should occur—if a protectee is sentenced to prison following a conviction for a felony. As a result, current law may impede the equal administration of justice and present logistical difficulties for both the Secret Service and prison authorities at the Federal and State levels.”

According to the one-pager, the bill also does not violate any constitutional rights, citing “Flemming v. Nestor,” a Supreme Court case that suggested terminating certain benefits could raise ex post facto concerns. 

“The Supreme Court in Flemming v. Nestor suggested that there could be situations where the termination of a benefit may raise ex post facto concerns. However, such a law would have to be shown to have an unlawful, punitive purpose. This bill raises no punitive concern. The purpose of this bill is to hand off inmate protection to relevant prison authorities rather than involve the Secret Service. Further, the removal of Secret Service protection does not change the criminal statutes or alter the penalty for crimes.”

Business Insider reports that Thompson’s bill is unlikely to make it out of the House and Senate, but it notes the significance of a Democrat who carries the cache that Thompson does in responding to the potential of an incarcerated former President of the United States of America. The bill was co-sponsored by Reps. Troy A. Carter Sr., Barbara Lee, Frederica Wilson, Yvette D. Clark, Bonnie Watson Coleman, Jasmine Crockett, Joyce Beatty, and Steve Cohen. 

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