Tags: Veep | Correct | Papers | Refusal

Veep Correct on Papers Refusal

Tuesday, 29 January 2002 12:00 AM

The administration has refused to provide the requested information and has asserted that congress - a co-equal branch - has no authority to "listen in" on executive meetings.

Congressman Henry Waxman, D-Calif., has sought the assistance of the General Accounting Office, the investigative arm of Congress, in his overzealous quest to find an as yet elusive political "smoking gun” with which to take further pot shots at the president.

As the Enron debacle rages forth on both the corporate and accounting fronts, desperate Democrats have mounted various attempts to somehow –

Thus far, however, the American public continues to stand by the President, largely due to the fact that no one in the administration did

An important aside is that such ethical behavior represents the strongest of arguments against the refrains calling for so-called campaign finance reform legislation, which, by the way, doesn’t even register in single digits on the list of issues important to Americans as reported by virtually every public opinion poll.

The reason the vice president is correct in his assertion is that to comply with this specious request would be to dramatically undermine the ability of the executive branch to carry on

Of course such a result would be insane; just imagine the hue and cry if our government made every decision and took every action with the purposeful intent of NOT including any input from the governed!

Further, the chilling effect of such a precedent would be crippling in a government’s efforts to seek this kind of input. Who would want to participate if everything discussed were to be publicly disclosed?

It is important to bear in mind that the context within which these meetings were held was as a part of the administration’s effort to gather information prior to finalizing its legislative

At this stage in the process, Waxman and the other five hundred thirty-four members of the congress have a proper role to play to review and examine, agree or disagree, change or adopt every aspect of the president's proposal, regardless of where each may have originated.

What’s more, the implication that somehow a corporate citizen with a view on a specific issue that later was found to be embodied in the proposal represents evidence of impropriety, is flat-out absurd.

In many cases it is more than possible – it is very likely – that on a host of issues there could be initial agreement!

Moreover, it has been reported that the Sierra Club submitted a twelve-point program for consideration by the energy task force and that eleven of the items were included in the final proposals.

Gee, sometimes various parties might just agree!

As far as the rather popular spin making its way through the mainstream media’s echo chamber, that if Hillary’s healthcare task force meetings were improperly held in private then the vice president’s were as well, is false.

The two scenarios are easily distinguished and have nothing in common.

Hillary’s task force was comprised of private sector

By incorporating private citizen members of her task force and thereby creating a hybrid group, the right to conduct deliberations and receive input out of the public eye ceases, because just such situations cry out for the actions of such a group to be scrutinized.

The federal courts have so ruled and forced the release of documentation in that case.

Here, the National Energy Policy Development Group was wholly comprised of members of the administration. As such, the Federal Advisory Committee Act - the law governing the conduct of such entities - specifically does not apply.

The G.A.O. is wrong to pursue the matter judicially, though it is free to do so. Both it and Waxman will be rebuffed in their misguided efforts.

And that’s a good thing.

In the meantime, it is once again refreshing to witness an administration that is not only guided by high ethical standards in the conduct of its daily work, but also has the courage to stand up and defend what it believes is right, even in the face of underhanded efforts to cow the executive branch into being a party to further eroding its own ability to properly function.

Dan Frisa represented New York in the United States Congress and served four terms in the New York State Assembly. E-mail Dan:

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The administration has refused to provide the requested information and has asserted that congress - a co-equal branch - has no authority to listen in on executive meetings. Congressman Henry Waxman, D-Calif., has sought the assistance of the General Accounting Office,...
Veep,Correct,Papers,Refusal
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2002-00-29
Tuesday, 29 January 2002 12:00 AM
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