"Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please." (Mark Twain)

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Accountability Moments 

Once again - or, more accurately, twice again - Republican members of Congress have made it clear that they will not allow themselves to be distracted by those who want to play the "blame game," or otherwise insist that they do their goddamn jobs.

First, on a party line vote (54 Republicans vs. 44 Democrats and one independent) the Senate rejected the establishment of an independent commission to investigate the government's response to Hurricane Katrina. The proposal, offered by Hillary Clinton, would have created a bipartisan panel modeled on the 9/11 Commission to investigate "what went wrong with federal, state and local governments' response" to the disaster. The idea enjoys broad popular support:
In a CNN/USA Today Gallup poll taken Sept. 8-11, 70 percent of those surveyed supported an independent panel to investigate the government's response to Katrina. Only 29 percent were opposed.

The Republicans prefer a pachyderm-controlled Congressional committee similar to the one created to investigate the Iran-Contra conspiracy (and we all saw how effective that body turned out to be).

Not to be outdone, the House Judiciary Committee likewise scuttled an attempt to compel the Attorney General to disclose information regarding the Valerie Plame case. Congressman John Conyers (D-Mich.) writes:
This resolution was opposed by every Republican voting, and was defeated on party lines, 15-11. When opposing this vote, Republicans explained that we should not look into a matter that is being investigated by the Justice Department. This excuse may sound like a broken record by now. That is not and has never been our standard. This year alone, Congress has held hearings on allegations of criminal misconduct in the United Nation's Oil-for-Food Program; the same misconduct being reviewed by the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York. Congress also has been looking into the Jack Abramoff scandal at the same time as the Justice Department. Let us not forget the endless hearings held in this Committee and others on alleged Clinton-Gore campaign finance violations, the Whitewater claims, and Clinton White House Travel Office firings. These were matters all under Justice Department review at the time of our hearings.

And so dies another lame excuse, utterly unmourned.




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