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Tuesday, July 06, 2004

Unchecked and Unbalanced 

Courtesy of Zemblan patriot J.D.: Fearless, two-fisted Rep. Henry A. Waxman (D-CA) graces the pages of the Washington Post with an illuminating comparison of Congressional Oversight Then and Now. First, the "then" part:
Republicans investigated whether the Clinton administration sold burial plots in Arlington National Cemetery for campaign contributions. They examined whether the White House doctored videotapes of coffees attended by President Clinton. They spent two years investigating who hired Craig Livingstone, the former director of the White House security office. And they looked at whether President Clinton designated coal-rich land in Utah as a national monument because political donors with Indonesian coal interests might benefit from reductions in U.S. coal production.

Committees requested and received communications between Clinton and his close advisers, notes of conversations between Clinton and a foreign head of state, internal e-mails from the office of the vice president, and more than 100 sets of FBI interview summaries. Dozens of top Clinton officials, including several White House chiefs of staff and White House counsels, testified before Congress. The Clinton administration provided to Congress more than a million pages of documents in response to investigative inquiries.

At one point the House even created a select committee to investigate whether the Clinton administration sold national security secrets to China, diverting attention from Osama bin Laden and other real threats facing our nation.
Now, the "now" part:
Republican leaders in Congress have refused to investigate who exposed covert CIA agent Valerie Plame, whose identity was leaked after her husband, Joe Wilson, challenged the administration's claims that Iraq sought nuclear weapons. They have held virtually no public hearings on the hundreds of misleading claims made by administration officials about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction and ties to al Qaeda.

They have failed to probe allegations that administration officials misled Congress about the costs of the Medicare prescription drug bill. And they have ignored the ethical lapses of administration officials, such as the senior Medicare official who negotiated future employment representing drug companies while drafting the prescription drug bill.

The House is even refusing to investigate the horrific Iraq prison abuses. One Republican chairman argued, "America's reputation has been dealt a serious blow around the world by the actions of a select few. The last thing our nation needs now is for others to enflame this hatred by providing fodder and sound bites for our enemies."

Compare the following: Republicans in the House took more than 140 hours of testimony to investigate whether the Clinton White House misused its holiday card database but less than five hours of testimony regarding how the Bush administration treated Iraqi detainees.

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