Congress should fulfill its constitutional duty to police executive-branch lawlessness. Don’t hold your breath.
“Congress has become a paper tiger within our tripartite system.”
These Republican leaders’ reasons are cumulatively unpersuasive. Resuscitating the impeachment power would contribute to revitalizing Congress’s Article I powers. Impeachments are rare — no appointed official of the executive branch has been
impeached in 140 years. But what James Madison called the “indispensable” power to impeach should not be allowed to atrophy, as has Congress’s power to declare war.
Here are a few pertinent facts. At the IRS, Exempt Organizations director Lois Lerner participated in delaying for up to five years — effectively denying — tax-exempt status for, and hence suppressing political advocacy by, conservative groups. She retired after refusing to testify to congressional committees, invoking the Fifth Amendment’s protection against self-incrimination.
Koskinen, who became commissioner after Lerner left, failed to disclose the disappearance of e-mails germane to a congressional investigation of IRS misbehavior.
Under his leadership, the IRS failed to comply with a preservation order pertaining to an investigation. He did not testify accurately or keep promises made to Congress. Read the rest of this entry »
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Grassley is calling for a zero-tolerance policy on soliciting prostitutes.
Congress is finally using protection after several embarrassing stories about very sexually active federal law enforcement agencies.
“The majority of federal law enforcement agents serve our nation honorably and bravely. However, in recent years there have been some episodes of agents gone wild, which raise serious concerns about the culture at federal law enforcement agencies, most notably at the Secret Service and Drug Enforcement Administration.”
— House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte
The Department of Justice issued a memo Friday to all justice department employees telling them not to solicit prostitutes even if they are in a country where it is legal, but Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley is saying it isn’t enough.
Grassley is calling for a zero-tolerance policy on soliciting prostitutes.
“There is no place in the federal government for employees who purchase sex,” Grassley said in a statement Monday. “This memo itself says that such activity ‘creates a greater demand for human trafficking,’ but fails to impose a sufficiently serious policy that would deter employees from engaging in this practice. The memo is a good first step, but more needs to be done.”
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte will hold a hearing Wednesday entitled “Analyzing Misconduct in Federal Law Enforcement” to get to the bottom of all the problems surrounding the Justice Department, particularly it’s employees high libido. Read the rest of this entry »
She erased emails after the Benghazi probe wanted to see them
If the House panel investigating Benghazi really wants to get a look at Hillary Clinton’s emails, perhaps it should subpoena the Chinese military. Beijing—which may have hacked the private server she used to send official email as Secretary of State—is likely to be more cooperative than are Mrs. Clinton and her stonewall specialists now reprising their roles from the 1990s.
“Mrs. Clinton’s real message to Congress: You’ll see those emails over my dead body.”
On Friday Mrs. Clinton’s lawyer, David Kendall, disclosed that he couldn’t cooperate with the Benghazi committee’s request that she turn over her private server to an independent third party for examination. Why not? Well, the former first diplomat had already wiped the computer clean.
Of course she had. What else would she do?
The timing of the deletions isn’t entirely clear. Benghazi Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy says they appear to have been deleted after Oct. 28, 2014, when State asked Mrs. Clinton to return her public records to the department. That could qualify as obstruction of Congress, as lawyer Ronald Rotunda recently argued on these pages.
The deletions certainly violate Mrs. Clinton’s promise to Congress on Oct. 2, 2012, when the Benghazi probe was getting under way. “We look forward to working with the Congress and your Committee as you proceed with your own review,” she told the Oversight Committee. “We are committed to a process that is as transparent as possible, respecting the needs and integrity of the investigations underway. We will move as quickly as we can without forsaking accuracy.”
Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Kendall say the vanishing emails don’t matter because State and the committee already have all the relevant documents and emails they’ve asked for. But State and the committee don’t have the actual emails, only the printed copies she provided to State.
Hillary used iPad for official emails at State
The Hill reports: Hillary Clinton used an iPad and Blackberry to send official emails at the State Department despite her claim that she relied on a personal address to avoid the inconvenience of multiple devices, according to The Associated Press.
And State had previously assured the committee it had everything it had asked for before Mrs. Clinton coughed up 850 pages of email copies from her private server this month—emails State couldn’t turn over before because she hadn’t provided them despite clear State Department policy that she and other officials do so….(read more)
Mrs. Clinton’s real message to Congress: You’ll see those emails over my dead body. Read the rest of this entry »
Cristina Marcos reports: Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) has reintroduced legislation to do away with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).
“The ATF is a scandal-ridden, largely duplicative agency that lacks a clear mission. Its ‘Framework’ is an affront to the Second Amendment and yet another reason why Congress should pass the ATF Elimination Act.”
— Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, House Judiciary Committee
Sensenbrenner, a senior Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, said the policies under ATF’s jurisdiction could be easily incorporated into other agencies. Moreover, he argued, the ATF has become embroiled in too many controversies in recent years, like the botched “Fast and Furious” gun-tracking operation.
“The ATF is a scandal-ridden, largely duplicative agency that lacks a clear mission. Its ‘Framework’ is an affront to the Second Amendment and yet another reason why Congress should pass the ATF Elimination Act,” Sensenbrenner said in a statement.
The ATF has drawn the ire of Republican lawmakers for its proposed ban on an armor-piercing bullet used in AR-15 rifles. Republicans say that hunters frequently use the bullets. The bureau says it initiated the regulation to help protect law enforcement officers from bullets that can pierce armored vests. Read the rest of this entry »
Selective enforcement, executive overreach, IRS hearings, the White House shutting out the press, prying open sealed records… this week marks a period of exposure and scrutiny. Hillary’s historic document dump comes later today. From WSJ blogs:
Thousands of pages of records from the Clinton presidency will be made public Friday, potentially offering fresh insights into Hillary Clinton as she considers whether to run for president in 2016…
…The papers are part of a cache of 33,000 pages of Clinton presidential records that had been withheld from various public records requests because they were exempt from disclosure under the law governing presidential records….
And for the last few days Jonathan Turley has been appearing on news programs, delivering a warning about executive overreach–not just under Obama, in the last two administrations–disrupting the balance of power, with less opposition or pushback from courts, and other branches of government, than the founders would have imagined. It raises a good question. Why aren’t the other branches guarding their power more vigorously, as the framers intended?
One possible answer Turley doesn’t mention (but critics like Ted Cruz, and author Mark Leibovich do) it’s not the branches of governments’ dysfunctional relationship with each other, or even the heightened political warfare between opposing parties that should concern us, it’s the larger consolidation of power, shared comfortably among the members of an emerging permanent ruling class.
It’s “insiders vs. outsiders”, as Mark Leibovich notes in his book “This Town“. Contrary to the prevailing view, the social climate in Washington D.C., isn’t as ‘toxic’, or ‘poisonous’ as the media narrative often portrays, it’s actually quite cozy. For a decaying constitutional republic, this should be alarming.
At Hot Air, ALLAHPUNDIT notes:
…Turley’s real problem isn’t with O’s behavior, which is rational and in line with our cynical expectations for state actors clothed in authority. His problem is with the other branches, especially the courts, for refusing to provide the checking and balancing they’re supposed to.
“My view [is] that the president, has in fact, exceeded his authority in a way that is creating a destabilizing influence in a three branch system,” he said. “I want to emphasize, of course, this problem didn’t begin with President Obama, I was critical of his predecessor President Bush as well, but the rate at which executive power has been concentrated in our system is accelerating. And frankly, I am very alarmed by the implications of that aggregation of power.”
“What also alarms me, however, is that the two other branches appear not just simply passive, but inert in the face of this concentration of authority,” Turley said…
“The fact that I happen to think the president is right on many of these policies does not alter the fact that I believe the means he is doing [it] is wrong, and that this can be a dangerous change in our system,” he said. “And our system is changing in a very fundamental way. And it’s changing without a whimper of regret or opposition.”
The other key takeaway here…is that congressional gridlock is neither new nor an excuse for the president to unilaterally suspend laws that are politically inconvenient to him…
Members of Congress and constitutional law experts testified before the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, warning that the legislative branch is in danger of ceding its power in the face of an “imperial presidency.”
The hearing, “Enforcing the President’s Constitutional Duty to Faithfully Execute the Laws,” focused on the multiple areas President Barack Obama has bypassed Congress, ranging from healthcare and immigration to marriage and welfare rules.
Attorney General Eric Holder has missed the deadline set by Republicans to personally explain questionable testimony he gave on reporter surveillance, as lawmakers threaten to subpoena Holder if necessary.
The deadline set by House Judiciary Committee Republicans was close-of-business on Wednesday. An aide told FoxNews.com they have “not received a response.”
The Justice Department earlier this week penned a response to the Republican leaders of the committee. But it was authored by a lower-level official, and committee leaders complained it did not address their concerns.
“A letter from a subordinate that fails to answer many of our questions does not suffice,” Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., and Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., wrote in a letter sent Tuesday.
The committee wants Holder to explain his May 15 testimony.
At the time, the attorney general said under oath he knew nothing of the “potential prosecution” of the press. Days later, it emerged that Holder was involved in his department’s successful effort to obtain Fox News reporter James Rosen’s personal emails — the DOJ sought access to the documents by arguing Rosen was a likely criminal “co-conspirator” in a leak case.
The Justice Department explained Monday in a letter to GOP committee leaders that the investigation never escalated into any prosecution of the reporter.
“The Attorney General’s testimony before the Committee on May 15, 2013, with respect to the Department’s prosecutions of the unauthorized disclosure of classified information was accurate and consistent with these facts,” the letter said.
Yet the letter also acknowledged that Holder “was consulted and approved the application for the search warrant.” And, while Republican leaders of the House Judiciary Committee demanded an explanation from Holder himself, the letter was signed not by him but by a “principal deputy assistant attorney general.”
The Justice Department, though, was not expected to provide any other paperwork to the committee on Wednesday — which puts the question to GOP leaders whether they will aggressively pursue the issue.
Earlier in the week, Sensenbrenner said his committee is prepared to compel Holder to explain if he doesn’t make the Wednesday deadline.
“I think we ought to subpoena the attorney general to come back and answer those questions specifically,” he told Fox News on Sunday, when asked what happens if Holder misses the deadline.
Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., agreed.
He told Fox News on Monday that Holder “absolutely” should return to the committee to explain his May
Via Fox News
- Eric Holder Ignores Lawmakers’ Deadline to Explain Inconsistent Testimony on Reporter Surveillance (theblaze.com)
- ‘SOMETHING TO HIDE’?: GOP Rejects DOJ Explanation of Holder Testimony (foxnews.com)
- Eric Holder Ignores Lawmakers’ Deadline To Explain Inconsistent Testimony on Reporter Surveillance (patdollard.com)
- House Judiciary Committee Investigating Whether Holder Lied To Congress (punditfromanotherplanet.com)
- Republicans want direct response from Holder on leak probe (cnn.com)
- Republicans slam Dept. of Justice’s defense of Eric Holder as ‘insulting’ (washingtontimes.com)
- King: Holder in Precarious Position by Defying House Judiciary Committee Deadline (freebeacon.com)
by DEBRA HEINE
The House Judiciary Committee is looking into Attorney General Eric Holder’s May 15 testimony on the Justice Department’s surveillance of reporters, to see if he lied under oath.
“In regard to potential prosecution of the press for the disclosure of material — this is not something I’ve ever been involved in, heard of, or would think would be wise policy,” Holder said during the hearing.However, NBC News reported last week that Holder personally approved a search warrant that labeled Fox News chief Washington correspondent James Rosen a co-conspirator in a national security leaks case.
The panel is investigating whether NBC’s report contradicts Holder’s claim that he had not looked into or been involved with a possible prosecution of the press in a leaks case.
This Attorney General has already been held in Contempt of Congress. A perjury charge may finally be the straw that breaks the camel’s back.
I kinda doubt today’s lame “crisis management” gambit is going to help him get out this one.