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Contempt of Congress.

By       Message Ed Martin     Permalink
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I got an email from John Conyers explaining how important it is for the House of Representatives to cite the White House with a contempt of Congress resolution for "failure to provide documents and appear as legally required." Conyers then goes on to condemn the Bush administration for another, entirely unrelated offense, the politicization of the Justice Department.

Conyers says that, "There are many steps we can take in this confrontation with the White House. Some are more extreme than others. What we must first do is get the facts that show who made these decisions in the White House. Only once we have this evidence can we adequately pursue justice. What is now required is for the House to pass these contempt of Congress citations and pursue legal action against the White House and Harriet Miers for their failure to meet the requirements of the subpoinas. Hopefully this contempt of Congress resolution will soon have a vote on the floor of the House."

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OK, John, thanks for the email. It made me understand just how ineffective our Democratically controlled congress is and how futile it is for to keep barking up the wrong tree. You don't seem to understand that contempt of Congress is not a legal concept, does not have the legal force of law, is not mentioned in statute law or the Constitution, in fact only exists as an implied option of Congress, legally does not exist under law and has exactly the same effect as doing nothing at all. It is subject to the same filibusters, delaying tactics and procedural shenanigans to kill legislation as any other proposition before the congress that the Republicans use so effectively to lead the Democrats in congress around by the nose. You have no more chance to get it passed than you've had with legislation to in any way affect George Bush's Iraq war. You're staking what needs to be done on a losing proposition.

You say that some of the many steps you can take are more extreme than others. I infer that you're referring to charging the members of the Bush administration under statute law for failure to respond legally to subpoenas. You and I must abide by the law, I don't see that making the Bush administration abide by the law is extreme in any way.

You say that first you must get the facts about the nefarious machinations in the White House. John, the fact that you have been denied the facts is the only important fact It is the foundation from which you can take legal action, not a contempt of Congress resolution. First you must apply the existing law against those who have violated it.

You say that only once we have this evidence can we adequately pursue justice. You already have evidence of the Bush administration's violation of the law by not responding to the subpoinas. You can pursue justice right now.

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You say that hopefully this contempt of Congress resolution will soon have a vote on the floor of the House. John, you're hoping that you can get a resolution passed as a predicate for pursuing the law. They are two separate issues. The resolution is not necessary for pursuit of the law. Falsely predicating your pursuit of the law on a totally ineffective resolution that you can only hope will pass ignores the fact that you can pursue the law without the resolution.

You are also ignoring the fact that nowhere in the applicable statute law is there any mention of the requirement for a contempt of Congress resolution before the law can be applied.

John, you need to read the applicable law:

US Code, Title 2, Chapter 6, Section 192 (synopsis):

"Every person," who appears before any committee of Congress and refuses to answer any question shall be deem guilty of a misdemeanor, punishaable by a fine of $100 to $1000 and improsonment for one to twelve months.

The statute does not recognize "executive privilege," and does not require a contempt of Congress resolution. Remember Monica Goodling and Alberto Gonzales? You can use the above to put both of them in jail.

US Code, Title 2, Chapter 6, Section 194 (synopsis):

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Whenever a witness summoned as mentioned in section 192 fails to appear to testify or fails to produce any books, papers, records, or documents as required, or whenever any witness so summoned refuses to answer any question before either House, or any committee of either House, a statement of fact constituting such failure is reported and filed with the President of the Senate or the Speaker of the House, they SHALL so certify to the appropriate United States attorney whose duty it SHALL be to bring the matter before the grand jury for its action.

You have right before you evidence of the violation of this statute by members of the Bush administration, on orders from George Bush. Why the hell are you waiting around for a maybe, possible contempt of Congress resolution before you just straightforwardly apply the law? You've got everything you need right here to put these suckers in jail!

Now, here's the one that will bring down the entire Bush administration:

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Ed Martin is an ordinary person who is recovering from being badly over-educated. Born in the middle of the Great Depression, he is not affiliated with nor a member of any political, social or religious organization. He is especially interested in (more...)
 

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