The investigative arm of Congress has been denied information repeatedly by various government agencies, indefinitely delaying lawmaker-requested probes, according to a letter obtained by The Hill.
The State Department, for example, initially balked at giving the Government Accountability Office (GAO) a list of sex offenders. Senate Finance Committee leaders asked GAO for a study on how many passport holders have not paid their federal taxes…
This really isn’t too surprising: I imagine that most members of this administration have passports.
…or are registered sex offenders.
I take the high road.
This is the usual legislative-versus-executive turf war, of course – it seems to be centered around Senator Grassley (R-NE), who gets awesomely cranky about any administration trying to give him and his (in this case, the GAO) the mushroom treatment on information requests. As you might have noticed from the Democrats being quoted, it’s also a bipartisan turf war: having folks like Rep. Waxman support Grassley and the GAO on this is a very unsubtle hint for the Executive branch. When they get quoted on the record and with their names attached, it’s a sign that they don’t care whether or not you’re going to be upset about it. This is a particularly foolish turf war for the White House to get into, but also an unsurprising one: discipline is… lacking… in the executive branch these days. Too many czars, too much confusion in chains of command, not enough oversight.
And may I say how refreshing it is to be in a new administration that has such a commitment to openness and transparency? Yes, sarcasm:
Even though President Barack Obama has vowed that the U.S. government will become more transparent, some officials interviewed for this article say that his administration has not given much more information to GAO than George W. Bush’s did[.]
That’s Beltwayese for “We had three days of posturing for the cameras, then it was back to business as usual – only more so.” Just to be helpful about it.
Crossposted to Moe Lane.