This afternoon, Sens. Ted Kennedy (D-MA) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) wrote a letter to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, calling on him to promptly investigate allegations that the Republican National Committee and its former research director Tim Griffin may have been involved in voter suppression tactics.
The story so far in a nutshell.
In 2004, BBC News published a report showing that Griffin, the former Rove protege who was placed as a U.S. attorney in Arkansas, led a "caging" scheme to suppress the votes of African-American servicemembers in Florida. In response, Griffin said recently, "I didn’t cage animals, I’m not a zookeeper." Former RNC researcher Monica Goodling, who dismissively characterized "caging" as a "direct-mail term," acknowledged discussing concerns about Griffin’s involvement in caging with Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty in preparation for his testimony before Congress.
Now I have serious doubts that Gonzales will actually conduct such an investigation, just as he failed to either intervene or conduct an investigation of the hundreds of thousands of violations of Presidential Records Act via use of political email accounts which occured both while he was White House Counsel and Attorney General, but his imminent failure to do so, or to appoint a Special Counsel, not to mention the IG Obstuction Investigation of his little improptu chat with Monica Goodling and the Midnight Ride to AG Ashcroft's bedside, will add another yet pressure point on ole' Gonzo that could be used as leverage to either force his resignation or impeach him outright for dereliction of duty.
betting hoping on the latter.
Add this to the report today by the GSA that as a result of Bush's 1,100 signing statements 30 percent of the laws passed by Congress last year were not enforced.
Federal agencies ignored 30 percent of the laws Bush objected to in signing statements last year, according to a report released today by the Government Accountability Office. In 2006, President Bush issued signing statements for 11 out of the 12 appropriations bills passed by Congress, claiming a right to bypass a total of 160 provisions in them.
In a sample set of 19 provisions, the GAO found that "10 provisions were executed as written, 6 were not, and 3 were not triggered and so there was no agency action to examine."
The real question here of course, is how will this essential stalemate between the White House and Congress over the implementation fo the laws via signing statements, and the Attorney Generals role and responsibilities for ensuring that the rule of law be followed, will play itself out in the courts? Because frankly, the courts are exactly where all of this is eventually headed.
I don't think things will be looking very sunny for Gonzo judging by how courts have treated many of the other more radical views of this president, particularly those exposed by uber-wingnut John Yoo, such as warrantless domestic wiretaping (which a Federal Judge found to be completely illegal and unconstitutional)...
"It was never the intent of the framers to give the president such unfettered control, particularly where his actions blatantly disregard the parameters clearly enumerated in the Bill of Rights," Taylor wrote in her 43-page opinion. ". . . There are no hereditary Kings in America and no powers not created by the Constitution. So all 'inherent powers' must derive from that Constitution."
Or how they ruled on Bush's original Military Commissions (which the Supreme Court found to be completely unauthorized by statute and in violation of international law) or their subsequent attempts to try them as "enemy combatants' (which two military judges found the court had no jurisdiction for) or the recent Fourth Circuit opinion which ruled the Bush Administration could not indefinately detain U.S. Citizens or foreign nationals living in the U.S. without charges.
"The President cannot eliminate constitutional protections with the stroke of a pen by proclaiming a civilian, even a criminal civilian, an enemy combatant subject to indefinite military detention," the Court said
With these decisions and case law already in effect, the arguement I would expect the Bush Administrtion to make in defense of Gonzales and Caging (ie. that the President has the inherent authority to waive the Presidential Records Act, to ignore violations of the Voting Rights Act - particualrly when they benefit the Republican Party - and to ignore the demands of Congress to fully investigate this lawlessness) are going to fall flat on their face like a Jackie Chan prat fall.
And it's gonna hurt too.