Stonewalling: White House Ignores Subpoena, Refuses to Send Witness to Congress, Yet Another Court Battle AheadPosted: July 16, 2014
The White House is refusing to allow political adviser David Simas to respond to a subpoena from House Oversight chairman Darrell Issa.
“Flouting a federal judge’s opinion about our system of checks and balances is yet another attack on our nation’s Constitution by this president.”
— Darrell Issa, in a statement late Tuesday night
National Review‘s John Fund reports: White House counsel W. Neil Eggleston says Issa has no power to compel Simas to testify at a hearing Wednesday morning about whether the office he runs has been engaged in improper political activity in violation of the Hatch Act, which bars federal employees from such activities as campaign fundraising and explicit political support.
Eggleston cited a new opinion from the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel that cited precedents going back to Presidents Harry Truman and Richard Nixon of executive privilege being asserted against testimony by White House aides.
“This hearing seeks to examine a political office embedded within the White House which, under Democratic and Republican administrations, has had a controversial role of coordinating political campaign activity for the president at taxpayer expense.”
Issa responds that in a case brought by congressional Democrats in 2008 against the Bush White House, a federal judge found that the idea of absolute immunity of a White House official from a congressional subpoena was “unprecedented” and held that presidential aides are “not absolutely immune from congressional process.” Read the rest of this entry »