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Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Incompetence does NOT Equal Illegal

[Updates below] 7/26/07.

Over 300 hundred investigations, 350 requests for documents and 200,000 pages of paperwork turned over to the the Democrats insisting on investigation every under the sun and they have not been able to prove anything criminal.

MR. STANZEL: Well, we always respond appropriately to the inquiries. I would note that we do get a lot of inquiries from the Hill. They've launched over 300 investigations, had over 350 requests for documents and interviews --

Q Since January?

MR. STANZEL: Since taking over, yes. And they have had over 600 oversight hearings in just about 100 days -- so that's about six oversight hearings a day. And we've turned over 200,000 pages of documents as an administration. And in that time, what they have to show for it, if you're taking a generous look at it, is six bills -- six major bills passed.

Incompetence, yeah, thats obvious, but criminal? Nope.

Then again, if incompetent was a criminal offense, then damn near every Democrat IN Congress would be in jail at this point as well as those in the Senate.

Which makes this tie in nicely with my last piece showing how Democrats in Congress and the Senate, despite having a 14% approval rating, continue down the path of self destruction.

The House Judiciary Committee voted yesterday to issue contempt citations for two of President Bush's closest aides, moving nearer to a constitutional confrontation with the White House over access to information about the Justice Department's dismissal of nine U.S. attorneys.

The panel voted 22 to 17, along party lines, to issue citations to Joshua B. Bolten, White House chief of staff, and Harriet E. Miers, former White House counsel. Both refused to comply with committee subpoenas after Bush declared that documents and testimony related to the prosecutor firings are protected by executive privilege.

Recently we showed you a Wapo article that stated that a ruling during the Clinton administration actually backed Bush's standing, and still they continue.

The Bush administration's vow this week to block contempt charges from Congress could prove to be a successful strategy for protecting White House documents about the multiple firings of U.S. attorneys, Democratic legal scholars and legislative aides said yesterday.

The experts cautioned that complaints by Democratic lawmakers about the administration's legal stance are undercut by a Justice Department legal opinion issued during the Clinton administration. It contended, as the Bush administration did this week, that Congress has no power to force a U.S. attorney to pursue contempt charges in cases in which a president has invoked executive privilege to withhold documents or testimony.

You see, Congress can demand prosecution anytime it wants, they cannot, I repeat CANNOT compel the Justice department to actually prosecute anyone.

From The Corner:

U.S. attorneys have no power of their own. The power they exercise is executive power, which the Constitution vests entirely in the president. They are his delegates, not independent actors, and he may fire them for any reason or no reason. If he fires them for a stupid reason, that is a political blunder for which the president and his Justice Department will be politically damaged — as has certainly happened here. But it is not a crime.

Congressional Democrats have tried to investigate it as if it were a crime. They've violated constitutional separation-of-powers principles by issuing subpoenas to some of the president's top aides. The White House wisely declined to comply, and Congress's next step is to try to hold them in contempt of Congress.

Only there's a small problem. The Constitution vests Congress with no authority to prosecute. That is an executive power. Congress can say "prosecute" all it wants. It needs a U.S. attorney to do it. But the U.S. attorneys work for the president. Flexing its constitutional muscles, the executive branch is not going to prosecute any contempt urged by Congress. Checkmate. Like this whole theater from the start, the issuance of subpoenas and the chatter about contempt is political, not legal.

Once again the Democrats overplayed their hand, with every liberal blog jumping on the bandwagon, a bandwagon that was headed to nowhere.

All that is going to happen through all of this, IF Pelosi is suicidal enough to pursue it too far, is that Congress is going to be very very weakened by the end, especially if a Judge has to put her in her place, publicly.

As Captain's Quarters so elequently puts it:

Tony Snow rather forcefully responded to this development, calling it a singular event in American history, where the legislative branch will direct the executive branch -- in the form of the federal prosecutor -- to file contempt charges against itself. The Department of Justice reminded Congress that administrations of both parties have long held that Congress has no power to issue contempt citations for claims of executive privilege. Obviously, the current leadership in Congress doesn't care.

It portends a showdown in the Supreme Court over the nature of executive privilege, and Sensenbrenner is correct. Absent any evidence of criminal conduct, the Supreme Court is highly unlikely to grant the legislative branch free rein to pursue contempt charges or to undo executive privilege. Nancy Pelosi will in all likelihood force a ruling that will firmly establish executive privilege and leave Congress with less power than it has had, after having finally called its own bluff.

I actually hope she does push that hard, because the more incapable and incompetnet she proves the Democrats in a position of any power are, the faster people will understand it and we can get something done.

[Update] 7/26/07- The clowns that are running the show continue to chase their tails some more.

Bloggers call their hand on misrepresentation in the headlines.

(NOTE: I added these links here to this continuing waste of time and money because, frankly, the story itself isn't worth another post)