Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Grassley blasts administration for policy to limit information shared with Congress

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Elise Viebeck has an important story in the Washington Post. In case you don’t follow politics, Charles Grassley is a very conservative Republican from Iowa, and his chewing out of the White House shows the degree to which Republicans are starting to realize what Trump can do to them, and to turn on him. The report begins:

The Republican chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee called on President Trump to retract a month-old policy allowing federal agencies not to comply with requests for information from most members of Congress, including Democrats.

In a letter to Trump released Friday, Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) chastised the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) for a May 1 opinion that rejected lawmakers’ authority to request information from the executive branch unless they are committee chairmen or participating in a request by a full committee or subcommittee.

The policy “completely misses the mark” and “frustrates the Constitutional function of legislating,” Grassley wrote to Trump on Wednesday.

“Unless Congress explicitly tells the Executive Branch to withhold information based on committee membership or leadership position, there is no legal or Constitutional basis for the Executive Branch to do so,” Grassley wrote.

He continued: “For OLC to so fundamentally misunderstand and misstate such a simple fact exposes its shocking lack of professionalism and objectivity. Indeed, OLC appears to have utterly failed to live up to its own standards. You are being ill-served and ill-advised.”

The May 1 opinion said that individual lawmakers “may request information from the Executive Branch, which may respond at its discretion, but such requests do not trigger any obligation to accommodate congressional needs.”

This is because, as the office put it, individual lawmakers — including the highest-ranking Democrats on each committee — “do not have the authority to conduct oversight in the absence of a specific delegation by a full house, committee, or subcommittee.”

“Whether it is appropriate to respond to requests from individual members will depend on the circumstances,” the policy stated.

Grassley called the office’s distinction between “constitutionally authorized” oversight and other requests for information by lawmakers “nonsense.”

“Shutting down oversight requests doesn’t drain the swamp, Mr. President,” Grassley wrote. “It floods the swamp.”

The letter is the latest example of friction between lawmakers and the Trump administration over officials’ and agencies’ lack of disclosure.

On Wednesday, . . .

Continue reading.

Grassley is pointing out that Congress exercises oversight on the Executive by law, it’s not just something they decided to do, and the law in question is the U.S. Constitution, the supreme law of the land. Of course, Trump is new to all this and didn’t know—he was treating Congress as though it’s a business competitor or some such thing from his background. But it isn’t going to fly, as Grassley points out. I think Grassley is ready to play rough (subpoenas).

Written by LeisureGuy

9 June 2017 at 5:16 pm

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