For Obama: Troubled Times or It Must be Summer?

Posted on June 5, 2013. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , |

By James Scott

obama.capitol“We believe—and we hope you will agree—it is imperative that the Committee, the Congress, and the American people be provided a full and accurate account.”  Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.)

Over the years, the Congress has sought to fulfill its oversight mandate through myriad investigations of all manner of alleged misdeeds. Often, those probes have placed the administration in the crosshairs.

There have been moments of high statesmanship. Who could forget Tennessee Republican Sen. Howard Baker famously boiling the Watergate scandal to a single question: “What did the President know and when did he know it?”

And there have been lesser moments, so-called “summer theater,” in which partisanship has driven the investigative agenda.

At the moment, Congress is probing the administration on no less than three fronts. Statesmanship, or theater? We’ll leave it to you to judge.

The House Judiciary Committee is examining why the Justice Department sought to gather the telephone records of as many as 20 Associated Press reporters over a period of two months. This is the investigation that prompted Goodlatte’s comment above.

Last week, this probe made the jump from examining alleged misdeeds to examining the possibility of a cover-up of those misdeeds, which as any student of the Watergate scandal knows is a common path for these kinds of investigations.

Goodlatte and Rep. James Sensenbrenner Jr. (R-Wis.) questioned the testimony of Attorney General Eric Holder during a hearing last month: “The media reports and statements issued by the Department regarding the search warrants for Mr. Rosen’s emails appear to be at odds with your sworn testimony before the Committee,” they wrote in a letter to Holder.

At the same time, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Cal.), chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, has issued subpoenas for State Department emails and other communications on the Benghazi terror attack. Issa suggested the State Department is withholding documents in a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry.

Issa wants to know more about the behind-the-scenes talks regarding the attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi that killed U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans.

And, finally, the House Ways and Means Committee has been hearing testimony about charges that the Internal Revenue Service targeted right-wing Tea Party groups and others for extra tax scrutiny. In a statement, the panel’s chairman Rep. Dave Camp (R-Mich.) made clear that this investigation has already reached a few preliminary conclusions.

“While we now know that the IRS began targeting individuals based on their personal beliefs three years ago, we still need to know who began this targeting and why, and we need to understand how individuals were affected by the IRS’s abuse,” Camp said in a statement.

So, it would seem this is an administration that is embroiled in scandal worthy of public scorn and rejection. Either that, or Congress is heading to its summer place. You decide.

Turner GPA is a leading D.C.-based national lobbying and government affairs firm dedicated to delivering cutting edge policy advocacy for the manufacturing, defense, aerospace, health and energy industries. Members of our professional policy team can be reached at (202) 466-2511. We are also on the Web at


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