Monday, April 09, 2007

Waxman to Rice: The More You Ignore Me, The Closer I Get

By Paul Kiel
TPM Muckraker
April 9, 2007, 12:37 PM

Here's the latest instance of what is becoming a flourishing genre in the new Congress: the spurned chairman letter. It comes when oversight efforts are met with deafening silence from the administration.

House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Henry Waxman (D-CA) wrote Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice such a letter (pdf) today. Last month, Waxman wrote Rice, inviting her to an April 18 hearing on the Niger forgeries and the infamous sixteen words, and asking a list of questions about what she knew about the documents and how they got into the State of the Union address. What he got in return was a mostly irrelevant letter from one of Rice's subordinates forwarding previous correspondence that answered none of his questions. He's not happy and is pressing again for answers.

Senate Judiciary Chairman Pat Leahy (D-VT) delivered one of the classics of the genre last week, berating Alberto Gonzales for his silence in response to repeated requests for information over the past several months.

The administration's strategy, if indeed it is one, seems short-sighted. It's worked for the past six years. But the Dems are in charge now -- and anger and subpoena-power is a dangerous mix.

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