Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Dickie's Political Quickies

After it was revealed yesterday that White House papers indicate that senior administration officials were well aware (or at least informed, though they might have chosen to ignore the reports, so it was at at least communicated to them) of the possible effects of hurricane Katrina, the Bush administration has chosen not to release the papers to members of Congress investigating the events. From the NY Times:

White House Declines to Provide Storm Papers

In response to questions later from a reporter, the deputy White House spokesman, Trent Duffy, said the administration had declined requests to provide testimony by Andrew H. Card Jr., the White House chief of staff; Mr. Card's deputy, Joe Hagin; Frances Fragos Townsend, the domestic security adviser; and her deputy, Ken Rapuano.

Mr. Duffy said the administration had also declined to provide storm-related e-mail correspondence and other communications involving White House staff members. Mr. Rapuano has given briefings to the committees, but the sessions were closed to the public and were not considered formal testimony.

"The White House and the administration are cooperating with both the House and Senate," Mr. Duffy said. "But we have also maintained the president's ability to get advice and have conversations with his top advisers that remain confidential."

Yet even Senator Susan Collins, Republican of Maine, objected when administration officials who were not part of the president's staff said they could not testify about communications with the White House.

"I completely disagree with that practice," Ms. Collins, chairwoman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, said in an interview Tuesday.

According to Mr. Lieberman, Michael D. Brown, the former director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, cited such a restriction on Monday, as agency lawyers had advised him not to say whether he had spoken to President Bush or Vice President Dick Cheney or to comment on the substance of any conversations with any other high-level White House officials.

Ridiculous. It is Congress' constitutional requirement to oversee the workings of the government. These people are not part of the president's staff and therefore should be required to testify. In fact, "Brownie" has already testified to other matters, why stop him now? I suppose that this is the sort of artifice that we've come to expect from Congress - have a little political theater in order to hang out to dry one or two officials then wipe your hands of the mess and call it a day. Fuck that. Congressional leaders should grow some ovaries and issue subpoenas. Demand that the subpoenas be enforced and stare down these aristocratic bastards. No executive branch deserves this sort of power. What has happened to "the people's body"? If it doesn't act on this, then I propose that we need new "people" for the ones in office sure don't deserve our loyalty, our trust, our respect, nor the keys of democracy they have been provided.

According to the AP via the Houston Chronicle, the Texas prosecutor in charge of the Tom DeLay case, has issued subpoenas to a firm that has ties to both DeLay's PAC and Randy 'Duke' Cunningham. This would be great if Ronnie Earle could find ties between them. Current House Majority Leader, Roy Blount is also part of the probe now (his graft is reportedly as deep as DeLay's):

DeLay, charged with conspiring to launder campaign money that was given in 2002 races for the state Legislature, flew three times on a jet owned by another Wilkes company, according to campaign records.

According to the subpoenas, businessman William B. Adams wrote a $40,000 check to PerfectWave on Sept. 18, 2002. Two days later, PerfectWave sent $15,000 to TRMPAC, the state committee whose spending is at issue in DeLay's criminal case. On Oct. 3, PerfectWave gave $25,000 to "Tribute to Heroes," Cunningham's annual black-tie charity gala in San Diego.

Wilkes' charitable foundation spent nearly $36,000 hosting "Tribute to Heroes" in 2002. Cunningham, a former Vietnam war fighter ace, was feted with a trophy at the event, according to the event's Web site and tax filings.

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