The president’s enforcers are penalizing and jailing executives for normal business activities.

In the last presidential debate, Governor Chris Christie asserted that the Obama administration was running a “political Justice Department,” basing its prosecutorial decisions on political preferences.

But politicization in the traditional sense — hiring only committed leftists to civil-service jobs, or using the IRS to go after political enemies — is just half the problem.The current DOJ is also using law enforcement to advance President Obama’s vision of industrial policy.

Under policies implemented over the last several years, businessmen can be jailed simply for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. The apotheosis of this trend came last month, when Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates issued a memo titled “Individual Accountability for Corporate Wrongdoing.” The Yates memo notes changes to the department’s manual for U.S. Attorneys, revising the prosecution of corporate malfeasance in a way that overcomes the difficulty of establishing the culpability of “high-level executives.”

Since 2011, the Justice Department has pursued a line of litigation that expands the “responsible corporate officer” doctrine, whereby corporate officers can be held criminally liable for the actions of their underlings without any knowledge or direct participation. More than 300,000 regulations — not even laws — can trigger criminal sanctions.

Read the full article at National Review Online.