Rep. Darrell Issa is aiming to launch investigations on everything from WikiLeaks to Fannie Mae to corruption in Afghanistan in the first few months of what promises to be a high profile chairmanship of the top oversight committee in Congress.
I say: fine! The people running the country should be held accountable for their actions. And government needs more transparency, not less.
But it wasn’t too long ago that Republicans didn’t seem to think that was the case.
Over the course of only 15 minutes today, three congressional committees will consider subpoenas for half a dozen officials from the White House and the departments of Justice and State. On the list is former presidential chief of staff Andrew H. Card Jr., Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and former Justice Department liaison to the White House Monica M. Goodling, a key figure in the controversial firing of eight U.S. attorneys.
Republican leaders call it a “partisan witch hunt.”
Since they assumed control of Congress in January, Democrats have moved quickly to bulk up the investigative staffs of key watchdog committees with an eye on keeping the Bush administration in check. [...] Republican leaders call the spate of investigations a “partisan witch hunt.”
“We are witnessing the beginning of a witch hunt that will decimate both the morale and effectiveness of those who have dedicated their lives to protecting our nation,” Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.), the head of a conservative caucus in the House, said Tuesday in a statement.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and panel member Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) clashed Sunday over possible subpoenas of current and former White House staff, including President Bush’s top adviser Karl Rove. [...]
Cornyn said on ABC’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos that he would join Leahy “in getting to the facts and following the facts where they may lead,” but indicated that efforts to subpoena White House officials amounted to a “a political witch hunt” led by Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), who oversees the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.
After years of silence, top Bush administration political adviser Karl Rove went on a public relations offensive Thursday, saying he did nothing wrong in the controversial firings of nine U.S. attorneys and that soon-to-be-released White House documents and his closed-door congressional testimony on the subject will bear that out. [...]
That testimony, which wrapped up Thursday, came only after a hard-fought and protracted legal battle in which Rove and some other senior Bush administration officials refused to testify or otherwise cooperate in what the White House said was a partisan witch-hunt by congressional Democrats who believed the top prosecutors were fired because they refused to go along with the Republican political agenda.
A House Judiciary Committee Web page asking former and current Justice Department officials to offer their stories on politicization of the department “launched prematurely,” but is still legitimate, Democratic Chairman John Conyers said Thursday.
The response came after Texas Rep. Lamar Smith demanded the new page be removed from the committee Web site, and called it a partisan attempt to persecute the Bush administration and misuse taxpayer dollars for a witch-hunt.
Apparently, it’s only “partisan” and a “witch hunt” when the targets of the investigation are Republicans.