At Ricochet, Emily Esfahani Smith has written a post called “Let the Investigations Begin.” They can begin soon because Republicans will soon control the House and thus be able to use the subpoena power to investigate whatever they chose to.
This is a welcome power, in part because it serves as a potential deterrent to egregious future wrongdoing by the administration. But it’s a power that should be used judiciously. In my opinion, the public elected a Republican Congress for the purpose of repealing Democratic legislative excesses, preventing new overreaching legislation, and bringing spending under control. It did not elect a Republican Congress to persecute the executive branch.
With this in mind, let’s look at the five areas of possible investigation that Emily, per the Daily Beast, has listed. They are: the Joe Sestak deal, the new Black Panther Party, the BP spill, the “czars,” and the removal of the inspector general of the Corporation for National and Community Service.
I would put the Sestak deal and the BP spill at the bottom of this list. To wallow in these matters strikes me as backward looking. Sestak lost and the spill response has already been investigated by a commission which issued a report critical of the White House.
The administration’s handling of the New Black Panther Party case is worthy of an investigation as part of a broader inquiry into the willingness of the Obama Justice Department’s enforce civil rights laws in a racially neutral manner. There is reason to believe that DOJ is not willing to enforce these laws in cases where the rights of non-minorities are violated. It needs to understand that Congress will not tolerate such a double standard.
The “czars” began as an annoying, but not terribly threatening, phenomenon. But now, Obama has placed czars in top positions at the commanding heights of our economy. Specifically, he has bypassed the Senate confirmation procedure by (1) installing Don Berwick, via recess appointment, as Administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and (2) making Elizabeth Warren a “special adviser” so she can create and oversee the new consumer financial protection bureau. This should prompt an investigation. It should also spur the House to take action to thwart the two agencies in question until President Obama submits to the normal confirmation procedure.
At first glance, the removal of, Gerald Walpin, the inspector general of the Corporation for National and Community Service, may seem insufficiently consequential to justify a backward looking investigation. However, as Stanley Kurtz points out in Radical-in-Chief, Obama included $1.4 billion in the 2011 budget to create a force of government-funded community organizers. His aim is to boost his political program while creating an army of young adherents in the process. The firing of Walpin appears to have an attempt to clear the way for this form of abuse. In this context, it is worthy of investigation by the House.
If readers have additional subjects they think should be investigated, we’d be happy to hear about them.
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