Holder's Contempt: Who Owns the Government?
Who owns the documents being suppressed in the clumsy Fast and Furious cover-up? Murder-gate would be a descriptive moniker. Could some intrepid reporter ask the hapless Jay Carney if the POTUS believes that the U.S. Government is "of the people, by the people, and for the people"? If he believes that, then surely he should understand that every document generated by that government is the property of the American People. There should be a high bar to clear before declaring any document confidential. To simply assert blanket executive privilege without a strong explanation is outrageous. A power-corrupted Department of Justice is a grave danger to every citizen who is not a favored political ally.
President Obama has raised the stakes. This not just a political dust-up; not merely a healthy test of strength between two co-equal branches of government. The rule of law is being challenged by Mr. Holder and the President. The Constitution invests tremendous power in the federal government. In return we the people are entitled to full transparency and accountability from its officials. A routine congressional investigation has evolved into a monstrous scandal and cover-up. It is as if they have missed the lessons from all the failed cover-ups of their predecessors. Congress and the Courts should act with haste and conviction to bring the perpetrators to justice.
The hive has been abuzz in the past few weeks trying to discredit the whole Congressional investigation of F&F. They say it started under Bush. What if it did? The requested documents should help to prove that, if it is true. They say the requested documents contain information pertaining to ongoing criminal investigations. They could prove that by letting Chairman Issa and his committee see them in executive session. Are they less entitled to see those documents than the low level DOJ investigators working on the cases? In their partisan fury, they see no issue of accountability to the American People. No objective observer can deny the likelihood that the requested documents would lead to charges of perjury. In seven months or so there will be a new sheriff in town. Will the documents still exist?
The whole panoply of arguments on who in the government is entitled to information developed by anyone else in government is getting tedious. These people work for us, not for themselves or their political parties. Any private citizen who refuses to provide information to any branch of government is pursued mercilessly and prosecuted ruthlessly. Thus is the treatment of citizens as subjects pounded into us all. We have no right to what they deem confidential but they are entitled to every piece of paper or other property we own. The whole relationship between citizens and their government has been turned on its head. It is as if the fourth amendment provided that government officials be secure in their papers, rather than private citizens.
Thursday, we were treated to the spectacle of a hundred and eight Congressional Democrats storming out of the Chamber like a bunch of Wisconsin State Senators. Head cheerleader Steny Hoyer whipped them into a lame chant of "Shame on you." The head of the coven herself characterized the whole investigation as a witch hunt. I guess there is some truth to that, but at least it isn't a fishing expedition. It is as if words can change facts.
The Freedom of Information Act is a cruel hoax as it applies to ordinary citizens. Try prying anything out of a government agency which doesn't want to comply. It takes millions of dollars of legal fees and years of dedication. One can't help but feel a momentary sense of satisfaction to see Congressmen treated like ordinary citizens by an executive department. But those Congressmen are our only hope to restrain the power-corrupted self-serving members of the Bureaucracy. Let us constantly remind them that they are our representatives; we are not their subjects. Those documents belong to us. Our representatives are merely doing our bidding, not resentfully, but proudly. Today is a great day in American History. The health care fiasco will fade when our representatives repeal the horrid health care law. But the People's House finally crying "Enough!" to the arrogant inhabitants of the executive branch will resonate for many years. Truth to power, baby!
Special thanks to John Boehnor, Eric Cantor, Darrel Issa, and the entire Republican caucus for giving the American people this wonderfully appropriate Independence Day gift.