As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Friday, July 11, 2008

Rove If You Want To, Rove Around The World

Well, Karl Rove didn't show up for his Congressional hearing yesterday, defying a subpoena; word is that he left the country on a scheduled trip he never bothered to mention to the House Judiciary Committee. The Democrats are most angry and I think they're going to break out the "stern letter" pen for a round of extremely stern letters.

In today's "hearing" (for which no one showed up to be heard), subcommittee chair Linda Sanchez ruled Rove's assertion of the privilege to be without merit, which could be the first step toward holding him in contempt of Congress. Of course, Josh Bolten and Harriet Miers have both been held in contempt, and we already know what happened there: the Bush "administration" has instructed the US Attorney not to prosecute the case. And this is actually Rove's second subpoena. The Senate Judiciary Committee issued the first one a year ago, but Rove never showed for that one, either. The Committee then voted to hold Rove in contempt in December of last year, but there has never been a vote before the full Senate, which would be required to refer the charges to the same US Attorney who wouldn't prosecute Miers and Bolten.

But Rove's claim could perhaps add another layer of ridiculousness to these proceedings. He claims executive privilege, but the White House says nothing. So who's right? Has he been instructed to assert this newly invented kind of immunity/ privilege or not? Well, let's hold hearings to find out whether the White House told him to do it. Only the White House surely won't testify, no doubt claiming... executive privilege. And Double Secret Immunity, too, no doubt.

So, he did not claim executive privilege, but he said he didn't have to show up because his duties as a Presidential aide were privileged. Which means that his official duties included politicizing the Justice Department and railroading Democrats in invented prosecutions, because that was the subject of the hearing.

It's pretty clear that the Democrats aren't going to do a hell of a lot about this. Even if they knuckled down and offered inherent contempt, they only have until the end of September before adjourning. The only possibility is this legislation that would prevent "future Karl Roves."

Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), who has primary jurisdiction over the executive branch, is considering legislation to eliminate Karl Rove-type advisers in future administrations.

The chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hints broadly that such a bill could ban the use of federal funds to finance such a politically partisan office.

"Why should we be using taxpayer dollars to have a person solely in charge of politics in the White House?" Waxman said in an interview. "Can you imagine the reaction if each member of Congress had a campaign person paid for with taxpayer dollars?"

Sadly, this is as close we can get to accountability. Stopping a future event. That'll show Karl!

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