Inconvenient News,
       by smintheus

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

  Republicans stone-walling Cunningham probe

Yesterday, on her own stick, Jane Harman released the Executive Summary of the House Intelligence Committee's investigation of how the disgraced former member, Randy 'Duke' Cunningham, managed to use his influence to steer contracts to his business cronies Brent Wilkes and Mitchell Wade. Republicans will view its release as, ahhh...inconvenient.

Here is a PDF of the Executive Summary, and here is the San Diego Union Tribune report on the story. The Union Tribune piece gives a good overview of the document Harman released, and the politics of its release.

Meanwhile the Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Peter Hoekstra, is furious that Harman dared to release a document that he would have prefered to keep the public from seeing. Laura Rozen quotes Hoekstra saying:

"Today the committee's Ranking Member, Jane Harman, unilaterally and without the consent and authority of the full committee, released an interim, internal report by the committee's independent counsel into the actions of former Congressman Randy "Duke" Cunningham....the unilateral decision by Harman to break our bipartisan, written agreement to review the Cunningham matter by releasing an incomplete, internal committee document that has not been reviewed by the other committee Members is disturbing and beyond the pale."

Because that's the main issue, the partisanship that has tainted this investigation. Though, I must add, not for the reason Hoekstra would have us believe. Harman clearly is fed up with Republican stone-walling and decided it was time to sand-bag the whole lot of them. It's about time Democrats started fighting back against the Republicans' refusal to permit any meaningful oversight to occur.

Stone-walling? The Department of Defense has failed to cooperate with the Intelligence Committee's investigation; the House Appropriations Committee (under Chairman Jerry Lewis) has failed to cooperate; Hoekstra himself has refused to subpoena Cunningham on behalf of the Intelligence Committee.

So all the Intelligence Committee investigation is able to conclude thus far, on the evidence made available to it, is that Cunningham abused his position on the Committee and browbeat reluctant Committee staffers into going along with his highly suspicious activities--or, at least, remaining silent about their suspicions.

Once again, Republicans shield their own powerful friends from any manner of accountability, while permitting lower level staffers to face the brunt of investigation.


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