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Chelsea Green Blog

Dems hold Bush aides in contempt!

Just when we thought the Dems would cave like they are on immunity for telecoms who share our private data with the government, the House goes and votes—overwhelmingly—to hold two top aides to Pres. George W. Bush in contempt of Congress. The New York Times reports, “It is the first time in 25 years that a full chamber of Congress has voted on a contempt of Congress citation.” All we can say is it’s about time someone started holding this administration accountable. The GOP largely walked out of the chamber in protest of the vote, a stunt that says all we need to know about where their loyalties lie when it comes to the constitutional authority of Congress. All but 34 members of the GOP walked out of the chambers. The two aides—White House chief of staff Joshua Bolten and former White House counsel Harriet Mier—refused to cooperate with an investigation into whether the firings of US Attorneys was politically motivated. The American Freedom Campaign,  which had supporters send nearly 19,000 emails to U.S. representatives, urging them to use their power to hold Bolten and Meiers in contempt, was pleased with the vote. “After months of frustration, we are pleased that the House has finally passed these important resolutions,” said Steve Fox, campaign director for the American Freedom Campaign.  “In order for our system of checks and balances to be effective, Congress must have oversight over the executive branch.  When Bolten and Miers – with the encouragement of the President—refused to comply with the congressional subpoenas last summer, they were tacitly saying that this oversight power no longer existed.  If they are not held in contempt—and prosecuted in the courts – our Constitution will have been defiled.” The House Judiciary Committee approved the contempt citations, on a party-line vote, more than six months ago, but the resolution has stagnated since—despite efforts by activists to spur Democrats to challenge the Bush administration flouting of the Constitution. “Those members of Congress who walked out on this vote, have turned their back on the Constitution itself,” Fox added.  “They have violated their oath to ‘support and defend the Constitution’ and do not deserve to represent the American people.  Again, this is not a partisan matter.  We would say the exact same thing if Democrats walked out on a vote to defend the oversight powers of Congress under the Constitution.” The American Freedom Campaign (AFC) was founded in July 2007 by MoveOn.org co-founder Wes Boyd, scientist and social entrepreneur William Haseltine, Fenton Communications CEO David Fenton, and Naomi Wolf, author of The End of America with the goal to create grassroots support to restore checks and balances and reverse abuses of power by the executive branch. With the passage of this contempt vote, let’s now hope they can not give the telecoms immunity from illegally sharing our information with government spies, and they should not give the government extended powers to secretly listen to our phone calls. Is that too much to ask?


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