Deroy Murdock makes a damning case against the Bush team for their deceptions about Medicare prescription drug costs. It might not have the body count of Iraq and the drama of the State of the Union Address. It might not have the taint of treason like Plame. It might not stink of corruption like the reconstruction contracts. But the run-up to the passage of the prescription drug bill might be the best example of the Bush team out and out lying to the American public. As brazen as Clinton waving his finger.
This is a lie that cannot be forgotten. Not only is it a further example of the Bush team's (dare I say it?) mendacity, but reminding the Rockefeller Republicans that Bush spends money like a drunken sailor cannot be a bad thing.
This shifty and dishonest behavior now also looks criminal.
An April 26 Congressional Research Service memorandum determined that the Bush Administration's cover-up of Foster's estimates may have violated at least five federal laws:
1) 5 U.S.C. § 7211 (Lloyd-LaFollette Act, 1912; Treasury and General Government Appropriations, 2003)
As Lloyd-LaFollette, the Congressional Right to Know Act, reads: "The right of employees, individually or collectively, to petition Congress or a Member of Congress, or to furnish information to either House of Congress, or to a committee or Member thereof, may not be interfered with or denied."
2) 5 U.S.C. § 2302(b)(8) (Whistleblower Protection Act).
As the law clearly states: "This subsection shall not be construed to authorize the withholding of information from the Congress or the taking of any personnel action against an employee who discloses information to the Congress."
The CRS paper, by Legislative Attorney Jack Maskell, amplifies this point: "[E]xecutive agencies and their officers do not have the right to prevent or prohibit their officers or employees, either individually or in association, from presenting information to the United States Congress, its Members or committees, concerning relevant public policy issues."
3) 18 U.S.C. § 1001 (False Statements).
CRS explains: "In addition to criminalizing the giving of knowingly false information to the committees or offices of Congress, the statute also makes criminal the affirmative act of withholding by a 'scheme, trick or device' from such entities, pursuant to such investigation or review, material information which one has an obligation to provide."
4) 18 U.S.C. § 1505 (obstructing a congressional inquiry).
According to CRS: "[A]ctions which purposefully result in the transmission of knowingly false information to the United States Congress, and actions involving the intentional and active prevention of the communication of accurate information to the Congress and derogation of federal law or responsibilities, might in certain circumstances involve activities which constitute violations of federal criminal provisions."
5) 42 USC § 1317 [H. Conf. Rpt. 105 - 217, 105th Cong., 1st Sess. 837 (1997)]
As CRS puts it: "Specifically, the position of Chief Actuary itself has been intentionally given a degree of independence from direct executive control by providing in law for removal only 'for cause,' and by requiring in law that the Actuary exercise 'professional standards of actuarial independence' in carrying out his functions."
The Bush administration clearly trampled congressional prerogatives like a herd of elephants stampeding through a Zulu village. [Great imagery there!] Nevertheless, congressional Republicans, to their discredit, appear to be stonewalling this matter.