Constant's pations

If it's more than 30 minutes old, it's not news. It's a blog.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Public Oversight of Defective Congressional Staff Counsel

The failure of the US government warrants a more robust system for We the People to more effectively oversee Congress, not just the Executive Branch.

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Recall the lessons of the Constellation project, and how the evidence was forwarded to the war crimes prosecutors. Eventually, the DOJ Staff, Addington, and the other alleged war criminals were targeted for war crimes prosecutions.

Phase II is turning the entire oversight system onto the (current) Article I legislative staff.

The nice thing about lawfully targeting for oversight the Congressional staff is that they're much smaller, but equally as incompetent as the Executive Branch.

For the Congressional staffers who have a hard time reading case law, House rules, ethics, and information related to job performance, let's start with basics.

Congress is a co-equal branch of government. The United States government jointly shares policy-making functions with the Executive. Congress debates issues; and the Executive implements Executive Policy.

Congress has a responsibility to ensure that appropriations are for lawful things. This requirement exists in Article 1 Section 9.

Congressional staffers responsibility is to assert their oath of office. The job of the Committee Staff is to enforce the laws, and fully assert the lawful powers of the legislature.

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Contrary to public myth, the Congress doesn't get to make up rules as it goes along. there are statutory requirements which Congress has to follow.

Stupidly, Congress has passed rules and laws that it has to follow, but like the President has ignored them, not enforced them, or pretended that the obligations don't apply. Enter, Foley and the House Ethics Investigation.

At the same time, like the Executive Branch there are Congressional Staff legal counsel. These people are lawyers. Like the DoJ Staff counsel, they are paid to review documents, and ensure that the Constitution is protected.

Congress also engages in something called oversight. Some people like to call this blaming. Actually, it's what makes the American system of governance on paper unique: In theory, there's a method to publicly challenge the other government employees to do their job, provide answers, and get information. If there's a problem, the Congressional Staff counsel can contact the FBI, make information known to the US Attorney, or do other things that any competent counsel would do if they were serious about their Constitution and oath.

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Back to reality. For the moment, put aside the issue of the President being under investigation for war crimes; and the state powers to prosecute the President.

Once the DoJ Staff counsel was linked with illegal conduct, the other side of the equation and problem has been: Where as the minority staff counsel?

The ranking members of the Congressional committees -- the new Committee Chairmen -- have always had the power and right to issue memoranda to inspector Generals the NSA, DoJ, CIA, and DoD asking for information.

In their words, it's very nice for the DNC to have ridden the wave of outrage against the RNC, and demanded investigations and oversight.

Retroactively, the issue becomes: Where is the Minority staff counsel report; how was the Minority Staff involved; and despite an inability to review the material -- for whatever reason -- how was the information provided to the US Attorneys and FBI on issues related to violations of the law.

Either the Ranking Members of the Committee, when they learned of the illegal abuses, did file letters with the IGs; or they did not. Either the Ranking Member staff counsel did review information and taken action, or they did not.

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Congress is not in a magic bubble, immune to oversight. Where the DOJ Staff counsel have been targeted, the issue falls back on to the Congress: Where were you. Doesn't matter what excuses you were given. Your duty is to the Constitution; and your loyalty is to the US Constitution, not some covenant, party, or other thing.

Since 2000, this country has been under a non-sense issue of tyranny, abuse, and absurd defiance of the law. Whether you were awake, or making excuses is irrelevant. The same foreign oversight, required because this Congress isn't interested in offending the tyrant-clerk in the oval office, is required because this House leadership doesn't want to offend the abuser.

As with the failures in the Executive branch, the real mess is going to have to be cleaned up only if We the People lawfully ensure that the mess -- which you are -- is cleaned up. As opposed to the lip service promises of "this is what we're' going to do if there was real oversight," those promises have been proven worthless.

That is your problem. Had you had the credibility, we would not have to follow-up to make sure that your promises were kept. Now, we will do the same as has been done with the cess pool in the Article II.

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Public notice: If you are considering a job with the Congressional staff counsel on any committee, is that really what you want to do? Consider the cess pool you're entering. The leadership in the DNC refuses to look at the leader in the Article II section; are you really going to want to work for any committee that has a "hands off" approach to the leadership; but goes through the motions of oversight on everyone else.

The other problem with working in the Congress is that your leaderships actions defy their oath. The leadership talks about oversight, but the actions are at odds with that. Consider the calls for a Presidential investigation. They're out the window. What does the new Congressional leadership do: They can't point to their track record on anything: They've already given up, and can only plead for people to ignore their inaction. "Please, give me your support." Get real.

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let's consider the Constitution. Someone in the Congress needs to come up with a very convincing story: All this illegal activity was happening; you had ex-FBI and ex-DoD personnel running around; yet we still have no information before the DNC leadership that will convince them that they "might" want to target the President. What's up with that?

How does it feel to work in an organization that talks about accountability, but when given the power they refuse to use the power. "Can't touch the President, if we do, we might lose the election in 08."

Hay, shit for brains in Congress: There's more than one election. There are others after 08. Also, has it gotten through your heads that people -- upon seeing the scope of the evidence you, as staff counsel have ignored -- might support impeachment and vote for the DNC? "Oh, we never thought about that." or, "There's not enough time."

Make time.

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It's not impressive when America lectures the Iraqi people how to live, but the Americans can't do the same: Follow the law, ensure accountability, and do things.

Where are the reports from the Congressional staffers about their "professional" colleagues in the Article II branch? The ugly truth is that the cries about lack of accountability isn't just with the Article II counsel, but with the equally lazy, incompetent, and stupid Staff counsel in the Article I side of the house: Surely, if there was as much mayhem happening, the DC bar would be oozing with complaints. Silence.

The same public oversight that is possible on the Article II side of the coin, is equally possible on Article I.

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After you're hired, and you attend the Congressional training programs, what happens when you notice that there's a problem: Do you sit around and wonder what "it might be like" if you were in charge. Let's see your training plans. We need some templates, and a list of classes you're going to take to better protect the Constitution as a minority staffer. From this perspective your training program, regardless the excuses, failed.

Congress needs a credible audit system, that includes public reports, and one that works, even when Congressional leadership doesn't work. How's that going to work? The answer is simple: The Congressional staff need to come up with a solution to this problem. Don't want to hear alot of BS about why it can't be done. There are alternatives.

All this time the DNC staff counsel has been whining about what was going wrong. Fine. It's been a mess. Did it every occur to you that you might be in charge; and that you could implement a real set of solutions? It's all fine and good to talk about them now. But how about an explanation why you were silent all those years. Was there no thought to creating a public website to transform the system of American governance; was there no plan to overhaul the failed system of checks and balances? Again, we have nothing. No thanks to the lazy Congressional Staff counsel who have whined, not done their job, and want to pretend that it is "someone else’s problem."

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let's review the basics with training, legal competence, the ABA rules related to peer reviews, and the internal controls required to ensure that your professional peers are competent.

What happened? Sure, you can point to the RNC as "being in charge," but what happened to the disciplinary system? It sure looks like some DNC staff counsel got lazy, didn't communicate their concerns to the DC bar, and were essentially complicity with inaction.

We have no public discussion of the defects of the RNC counsel; and we have little public rebuke for the defective legal opinions which the RNC leadership in both the Article I and Article II had.

All this time, bogus messages going out to the NYT, illegal war, and where was the legal expertise in taking the challenge to their peers. Is there something that the Staff counsel wishes to explain; or is this something that is only going to come out during an impeachment. "OH, we don't have to worry about that; there won’t be an impeachment investigation. We'll sweep our malfeasance under the rug; and nobody is going to bother to ask any questions."

Dumb choice. War crimes prosecutors look at who had the legal obligation to review a matter; and did people in a policy making position have an ability to review information, prevent illegal activity; or did they fail to remove themselves. This standard applies to the minority and majority staff counsel, going back to the original of this mess.

Let's review:

1. Where is the evidence that the DoJ Staff counsel, once they discussed the illegal plans with the Congressional leadership, did or did not review the Title 28 and Title 50 requirements?

2. Once the illegal activity surfaced, what evidence does the DNC staff counsel have that it timely documented the findings; and that the ranking members of the committees timely provided a letter to the appropriate IG to review the matter?

3. Under the laws of war, can the DNC staff counsel demonstrate that they’ve done their moral best to do what they can; assert the rule of law; and report evidence of alleged war cries to the DC bar.

4. What evidence does the DNC Staff counsel have that it was fully working with the war crimes prosecutors, DC bar, and other interested personnel on the alleged war crimes as they surfaced.

5. Does the DNC counsel have no explanation for why the House and Senate e-mail systems have been associated with the classified e-mail systems connected to the DOJ, DOD, and other e-mails from classified sources.

6. how does the DNC staff counsel have an explanation for the security issues which were communicated, known leaks, but no apparent understanding of the legal implications of the original problems: War crimes. Did you do all you could to communicate the information; work with the DC bar, and ensure war crimes prosecutors were brought into the nexus.

7. What's the explanation for the personnel movement on the IT department; and does the DNC staff counsel have a plan to monitor these people, ensure the evidence is preserved, and that the appropriate evidence is made available to the Committee Chairman: Messages received; reports from Constituents; other whistleblower information.

8. Are you telling the American people, despite the leaks to the NYT, that nobody on the DNC staff counsel had any idea of the illegal activity; was never given any information; and that not once did you ever receive a letter? What was the reason for the failure to publicly disclose this information, provide it to the DC bar; and publicly make a show of the evidence related to war crimes? Was there a reason for the secrecy, silence, inaction, and failure to publicly ensure your peers under the DC bar were timely investigated?

9. How long does the DNC staff counsel plan to take to pretend the alleged war crimes issues on the RNC side of the aisle are "not our problem." For example, despite gag orders, Joint Staff personnel were going to the DNC leadership. What is the evidence, if any, that the Congressional staff counsel, when made aware of the problems in Iraq, did or did not timely report the problems to the DC Bar; how were the issues related to White House conversations handled; once you, as a legal expert was aware of the classified information related to prisoner abuses, how did you work with your colleagues in the DC bar to increase oversight, report information, and timely review your colleagues?

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Each of the committees has a report that is due in four months.

___ Have you bothered to review the legal requirements?

___ Have you reviewed the old reports, reviewed their problems, and developed a checklist to ensure that the published report in March 2007 fully meets your legal obligations?

___ How are you going to reconcile your "decision not to review the President" with the legal obligations of the report to do just that: Review the illegal Article II leadership problems.

___ Have you considered the oversight plan of the new Congressional leadership; and asked whether the standards being imposed on you are or are not uniformly being applied to the President. Does you leadership have an explanation why you are being held to a higher standard, different standard, or public standard; but the President, as required under the Constitution, isn't getting the oversight as designed?

___ How are you going to credibly explain the oversight issues, but your leadership has refused to do just that in re the President: Refuses to engage in oversight.

___ How can you credibly report on the status of the Committee overseeing the enforcement of the law when your leadership refuses to look at the President?

___ Please discuss your post-decision checklists crafted after the deliberations are over, related to the plans to change the legal requirements of this annual report.

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You took an oath to the US Constitution. How do you explain your inaction and assent to this illegal US government-led rebellion against the US Constitution; can you explain what you were doing, not doing?

___ Once you knew the President had violated the law, where was the documented review and audit your staff did of the various violations to evaluate to what extent the Title 28 reporting requirements had not been fulfilled. Do you have an explanation why these discrepancies and violations of the law were not forwarded to the DC Bar for review?

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For this disaster to have occurred, many people had to have sat on their rear end. You're in charge. You ask for our support. You're not going to get it. By refusing to assert your oath, your words and promises are meaningless. Solve this problem yourself. We have no reason to support you, only the US Constitution.

Regardless the cynicism you may hold toward the voters/non-voters or the Constitution, there remain valid 5 USC 3331 oath of office issues.

It remains to be understood to what extent, if any, the DNC staff counsel has been complicity with calls to not review legal issues that would reflect poorly on the newly elected leadership and staff counsel.

If the DNC staff counsel, as it appears, has something to hide, how long do you plan to sweep this under the rug. You don't think that the DOJ Staff counsel aren't going to share the memoranda of who they told; when they sent notifications. The curious matter is, despite the power of the ranking members to send letters, there's been silence. Was this a decision, like Addington, to not document something because it would mean that something was not previously done that should have been. Indeed, it's been rather comical to watch the attention on Article II, while the Article I counsel have been silently pretending nobody noticed.

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Leadership in the Congress can only be held accountable if the alleged complicit staff is also held to account. That means a public oversight process to review what failed in the DC bar; and what didn't work after the illegal activity was first reported, but there was no timely minority staff counsel letters.

It doesn't do much good to whine about elections when you have a superior legal duty to act. That illegal activity cannot lawfully be classified.

The issue is: Why didn't the DNC staff counsel ensure their leaders were fully capable of making informed decisions under the conditions you were subjected. Which of the members on the staffs had sufficient legal expertise to know there was a problem; and the sham excuses of "we had no lawyers" goes out the window.

Senator Graham has been a JAG. There are other DNC Members of Congress who apparently know something about the law to get excited about violations. Is the Minority Staff telling the public that despite the legal training, none of the lawyer-Members of Congress talked to private counsel; and never raised a technical issue with one of their personal legal counsels?

The issue becomes: When did the DNC staff counsel first learn of the illegal activity; and when did you start talking to private counsel, as the DoJ Staff counsel have been reported?

Senator Rockefeller knew enough about eh problems to document his concerns. Where are the other concerns; how was the DC Bar notified; and what was the plan to forward this information to the US Attorney in re warrants, prisoner abuses.

If the DNC staff counsel have no clue, then what is the plan to ensure that the counsel do have a clue, are informed, and are there to adequately review the issues. It’s not plausible despite the legal requirements, for the DNC leadership to not have relied on some sort of legal assistance. The memos can be reviewed, especially when they are not related to privileged conservations, but your alleged complicity in failing to do your moral best to ensure the Geneva Conventions were fully enforced.

You aren't being credible with your stupidity, and the speed with which the DNC leadership has shut down the Presidential oversight. Your problem is that you have no comprehension the degree to which the DOJ Staff, US Attorneys, and others have been lawfully providing information related to the information already provided, that you have apparently not acted upon. Not impressive. You let down America, the US Constitution, and most of all your professional peers in the legal community. They needed you to speak out.

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The DNC staff counsel know full well the legal issues related to the speed for the reversals on impeachment. They'll have to go through the same problem as the DOJ Staff counsel: Inconsistent timelines, stories not matching, and lawyers making the same excuses: "We had no idea, comrade."

Once the Military Commission Bill was passed, the DNC staff counsel would have reviewed the legal risks that might attach to their Members of Congress. We need to hear more discussion on the concerns you had, and why the flurry to pass legislation. The immunity is something that you as staff counsel would enjoy. That makes you a lawful target for a war crimes investigation: You had the alleged motivation to enjoy the immunity, especially on matters that should have been reviewed before the Patriot Act was signed. Those bills don't appear out of nowhere.

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Your professional reputations are on the line. Despite your legal training, proximity, and awareness of the legal issues, it's not credible to believe you had no ideas; were not aware of problems. Once the illegal conduct was disclosed, you had a duty to ensure that the Ranking Members asserted their oath; and fully reviewed the Title 28 and Title 50 reporting requirements. This was never mentioned during open discussions. It appears you've known about a problem, failed to act, and then hoped to have the entire chain of events.

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Politicians may compromise on legislation, but the Congressional staff counsel needs to explain why they've compromised on their oaths; not asserted the rule of law; and otherwise not timely provided information to the DC Bar.

What plan does the new Congressional Staff counsel have to credibly, publicly demonstrate that they've learned the lessons of Iraq, applied them to a simulated exercise, and can credibly demonstrate that they would more effectively handle the legal issues than their peers.

Please discuss the training programs which have been tailored for the Congressional Staff so that they might have a better understanding of the laws of war, rather than their (apparent) blind deference to (arguably) defective, reckless legal counsel in the opposing Article II branch of government.

___ What are the lessons learned

___ How will the 2000-2006 defective legal disasters be remedied

___ What legal problems which may or may exist with the now-minority party will be effectively injected to ensure the Congressional Staff counsel can credibly support their Member of Congress, and inform them of inappropriate gag orders, or other unlawful agreements to stifle needed legal review

___ Putting aside whether staff counsel were or were not excluded, what's the explanation for the Members of Congress who knew, or should have known the law, but were silent and failed to raise the legal issues, document them

___ When can we expect to have the legal concerns subsequent to the classified briefings on the illegal activity disclosed

___ How many requests have there been through classified channels of the Staff Counsel memoranda, notes and other working papers related to the non-known illegal activity, briefings, and other things

___ Are there some legal issues with the current Congressional leadership We the People need to be made aware of: Their alleged failure to act; strange reasons for not wanting to review information; sudden reversals on whether the President can or cannot be reviewed for war crimes.

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The Congressional staff counsel have a real credibly problem. The speed to which the investigation into the illegal activity ahs been shut down.

It appears as though someone in DoJ and the US Attorneys office has put some pressure on others in the Congressional Staff, apparently if you put too much pressure on this, you're all going to take a ride to The Hague.

Your problem: We know. And the State Attorney Generals know. You're State-level regulated personnel. The states have jurisdiction on whether you are or are not permitted to continue practicing law. Your licenses can be revoked.