Think Freely Media presents Common Sense with Paul Jacob

Feckless, Indeed

House Oversight Committee, Jason Chaffetz, Justice Department, information, Congress, Executive Branch, Legislative Branch, checks and balances, secret, secrets

Last night, House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) appeared on Fox News’ Tucker Carlson Tonight, where Chaffetz was asked how he would know if the Justice Department fully complied with subpoenas issued by his committee for documents.

“Look, we have a storied and horrific background on this,” explained the Utah representative, retiring after this, his fifth term in Congress. “You can go from everything from Fast and Furious to the Benghazi investigation, email, IRS, anything pretty much over the last eight years, which I’ve served in Congress, and I don’t believe we ever got a full production out of the Department of Justice or the State Department.”*

“I can issue a subpoena unilaterally. It’s part of my constitutional responsibility to provide that check and balance,” argued Chaffetz. “But that subpoena is only as strong as its ability to be enforced.”

Problem? Enforcement requires Congress to work through the DOJ, part of the executive branch. Tricky . . . when the Department of Justice** itself is being subpoenaed.

“You’ve seen, for instance, Judicial Watch,” Rep. Chaffetz noted. “Tom Fitton has much more power using a Freedom of Information Act, because he can get to the courts and the courts can force them.”

“The Department of Justice is afraid of a court; they’re not afraid of Congress.”

He added, “And we don’t use the power of our purse; we don’t beat it over their head and we don’t enforce it. And so it’s somewhat feckless, and it’s very frustrating as somebody who is chairman of the oversight committee.”

“Congress should have an expedited way to get to the courts to enforce those subpoenas,” Chaffetz offered.

Why, then, doesn’t Congress enact such a process?

This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.

 

* “And that continues, by the way,” Chaffetz added. “One of my frustrations, with all due respect to the Trump administration, is that they have not loosened up the documents that we have been requesting for years.”

** Or, for that matter, any another executive branch agency.


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By: CS Admin

2 Comments

  1. JFB says:

    The lesson to be learned is that the government cannot be expected to police itself.
    The time for new laws to allow transparency is now, the problem being that those presently in power probably have as much to hide as the last group in power and is, in fact, the same group which has been in power.
    As always, the correct answer is an informed electorate, limitation of governmental powers to directly enumerated powers only and term limits to dissuade the development of a ruling class. As the first is primary, there is no one with greater blame for the current mess than the image in the mirror.
    The government has been

  2. Pat says:

    Why DOESN’T Congress enact such laws.     
    One could argue that it would have been pointless while Obama was president.   He could easily have vetoed it and GOP didn’t have two thirds majority to override him.   Now Trump is in the WH and GOP has it within its power to enact such a law.  I’d say now is the time for the GOPe to put up or shut up.   This doesn’t let Trump or the Dems off  the hook, either.   Do they want access to information?   Let them take the hard steps necessary to get it.   If sunlight is the best disinfectant, then all sides should agree to let it shine.  No filibusters necessary.

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