Subpoenas Continue To Be Optional

1 comment April 17th, 2008at 09:16pm Posted by Eli

The executive privilege defense appears to be metastasizing…

In remarkable defiance of Congressional oversight, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has flatly declined to respond to a House Global Warming Committee subpoena. The subpoena for documents relating to the EPA’s refusal to obey the Supreme Court mandate to regulate greenhouse gases was issued by a unanimous, bipartisan vote on April 2, a year after the Supreme Court decision.

On April 11, the EPA requested and received an extension to respond, but today the agency has decided not to turn over the documents:

As we noted in our April 11, 2008 letter, EPA has grave concerns relating to the Committee’s subpoena.  In particular, we are concerned that the release of the deliberative, pre-decisional documents that don’t reflect the agency’s final thinking would be injurious to important Executive Branch institutional prerogatives: such release may have a chilling effect on future deliberations in this and other matters; it may create erroneous impressions of the Agency’s thinking; and it may raise questions about the Agency having reacted in response to, or having been influenced by, proceedings in a legislative or public forum outside the established administrative process.

(…)

The EPA is also defying the House Oversight Committee’s subpoena for related documents on White House involvement.

I am not a lawyer, but the EPA’s argument, especially the part about the “chilling effect on future deliberations,” sounds pretty similar to the executive privilege argument, i.e., that the president’s advisers and subordinates shouldn’t have to worry about their counsel to the president being made public.  Except, of course, that the head of the EPA is not the president, and therefore not covered under executive privilege.

I’m not sure if this is just another fanciful BushCo. legal argument, or if it’s a deliberate bid to expand executive privilege to cover all federal agencies (the reference to “important Executive Branch institutional prerogatives” seems especially telling). That certainly would shut down those pesky congressional investigations once and for all.  Of course, a Democratic president could invoke it if a Republican Congress started witch-hunting (like that would happen!), but he or she wouldn’t get the same kind of obliging media coverage or lack thereof that Dubya has.

I guess we can add “interpretation of the law” to the long list of things that are faith-based in the Bush administration.

Entry Filed under: Corruption/Cronyism,Environment,Republicans,Wankers

1 Comment

  • 1. dogjuicy  |  May 7th, 2008 at 3:29 am

    pretty even little adventures. now we watched


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