Friday, June 08, 2007

Why not restore the Independent Counsel Act?

A couple of like-minded friends and I are trying to figure out how citizens can hold the Bush Administration to account, now, for its illegal actions that have become almost too numerous to list. However, here’s my “short-short list”:

1. Tricking the nation into war against Iraq. If you have any doubts about this, read Elizabeth de la Vega’s U.S. v. Bush, et al.

2. Firing US Attorneys who weren’t loyal Bushies. Scott Horton, who blogs for Harper’s magazine at No Comment, is doing an excellent job keeping up with his ever-widening scandal. has a great summary of all the fired and resigning US attorneys here.

3. Signing statements. Hardly mentioned these days, Bush has utilized signing statements to circumvent laws passed by Congress that he doesn’t like. In October, 2006, the American Bar Association issued a report, The President v. Congress- Signing Statements and Non Enforcement, which is a must-read for understanding how Bush has misused signing statements.

Short of impeachment, which currently lacks a groundswell of support from citizens and reportedly is off the table, according to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, what can we do?

It’s painfully apparent that the Department of Justice [DoJ], which is charged with the responsibility of making sure that our elected and appointed officials support our Constitution and faithfully execute all laws, is not going to do anything.

Consider James Comey’s appointment of Patrick Fitzgerald as the Special Prosecutor to investigate the Plame matter an exception. At the time of the appointment, Comey was acting as Attorney General on behalf of John Ashcroft, who was incapacitated.

My solution is to reinstate the Independent Counsel Act with appropriate revisions to avoid its misuse.

The Act, hereafter referred to as “ICA,” was originally created in 1978, lapsed in 1992, reinstated in 1994, and expired in 1999.

The best source of information I’ve found about the ICA is a small booklet published before the Act expired in 1999 by It’s available here. It is easy to read, describes the problems with relying on the appointment of Special Prosecutors by the DoJ, and makes specific recommendations regarding what provisions a newly enacted ICA should include.

(ICA logo –


John in Cincinnati said...
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John in Cincinnati said...

I think this is a fine idea, Gail. Reminiscent of John Dean's post here. Were I a Republican I would have begun screaming for justice years ago. As a progressive, I can't believe the blind ignorance which appears to pervade most of the country.