My point of view.
Consider how much Congress has cost the American Taxpayer just in congressional hearings.
Consider that Congress has wasted a lot of their DC time over the years on hearings instead of getting laws enacted or managing to maintain a constitutionally sound government.
A look back shows a pretty startling fact about the congressional hearings on several key issues:
- House Select Committee on Assassinations, created in Sept. 1976 to investigate the assassinations of John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr., lasted 30 months.
- Committee on Improper Activities in Labor-Management Relations, which looked into labor racketeering, was impaneled for 38 months, from Jan. 1957 to March 1960.
- Senate investigation into defense contracts awarded during World War II lasted for 90 months, from 1941 to 1948, according to PolitiFact.
- Committee created to investigate the conduct of the Civil War lasted for 40 months, from Dec. 1861 to May 1865.
- Senate government affairs committee investigated the 2007-2008 financial crisis for 30 months.
- It took supposedly took 16 months of committee hearings on WaterGate.
- It took supposedly took 19 months of committee hearings on September 11, 2001.
- At a minimum 30 months have been used to convene 7 committee hearings on Benghaz and that is only from 2014-2016.
ONLY in the latest Benghazi hearing has much been found that points to serious issues for the Obama administration and Hillary Clinton.
ONLY in the latest Benghazi hearing did it come out (from a slip of tongue) that Hillary Clinton had an entire server center independent of government oversight in her home that had no clearance and little proper handling.
ONLY in the latest Benghazi hearing did other things like the complicit actions of FBI and DOJ come out as to their upper management corrupt interaction with Hillary Clinton and Obama. So as soon as they found these were actual possibilities, all congressional “probes” should have ceased and the congressional committee should have required a formal court investigation and trial commence. However, given that Obama was in power it is extremely doubtful that even “lady justice” would have been unchained and allowed to provide an impartial trial even had it been appealed to the Supreme Court.
There has to be a faster, more constitutionally based way to force Congress to stop holding long drawn-out investigations on issues. Not that the issues are not important but that those that might entail some acts of civil or criminal behavior have no business being run through Congress. They are slowing down the actual work Congress needs to get done and are often publicly contentious issues that should by rights be held to account in a court of law.
Therein lies the rub that all US citizens are angry about. We now have a sympathetic administration which believes in following the US Constitution. We now have a head of State Department, FBI and DOJ that are supposedly also striving to be better for ridding themselves of Obama operatives. We now have at least a few judges in courts that believe in their oath of office and following constitutional law rather than making it up as they go along.
SO WHY IS ANY COMMITTEE STILL HOLDING CONSTANT PROTRACTED HEARINGS ON ANY OF A VARIETY OF ISSUES.
If a bill needs to be passed based on the findings in that week-long committee hearing, then it should fall to the committee to submit the bill. If there is an administrative problem, then handle it through administrative means or FIRE whomever is the problem.
As an added note, Congress has the Congressional Research Service. It has so far done what seems to be an outstanding job preparing reports and such as requested by Congress. Why not have THEM responsible for preparing a brief investigative report to give to a committee considering some sort of hearing BEFORE the committee meets. Then when the committee meets they have relevant information so that the time spent on their “hearings” can be greatly reduced. That way at the conclusion of the one hearing they can approach those in the FBI to continue investigating if they see there is reason to be concerned after which the DoJ can indict and bring to trial those that have broken laws.
Take away the reason for constant press interviews. Take away the reason for pomposity from all the key congressional members. Take away the reason to spend millions of dollars for committee hearings. Take away a reason to divert the primary purpose away from actually producing quality information and bills for the President to sign and citizens to live under. What is left? VERY LITTLE.
How are those dollars accounted for to taxpayers by the way because the search I did produced NOT ONE government notation on actual costs of any congressional hearings? I only had the Washington Post fact check to go on? Who is responsible for government transparency on these things? Even if actual costs are listed, how would things like lost chances to issue good bills on different subjects even be tallied into the cost? Or all the backroom and entertainment costs be added?
Congressional hearings for possible criminal activity should be only short hearings that should get the one involved a one-way ticket to federal court to solve the issue. If Congress believes there is a legal issue that requires investigation then pass it to the proper department. If they mention that there are those like IRS personnel, Comey, or Hillary Clinton that have clearly broken established law either for mishandling of secret government documents, money laundering, corruption whatever then stop right there and provide law enforcement the opportunity to decide through LEGAL investigation that there is cause for indictment and let DoJ handle the problem from there.
We Citizens expect to see this play out in a COURT OF LAW duly authorized by the Constitution to enforce and judge based on evidence. Stop allowing Congress to continue mouthing off about “hearings”– if there is a reason for a hearing then settle it in a court of law with the DoJ bringing the full force of government investigation down on the issue.
Congress has the “power of the purse and to make laws” NOT the power of judicial branch to bring to justice nor the enforcement capabilities of the executive division to investigate. They need to get out of the business. Hold a hearing of not longer than two weeks. If they find there is a problem that has broken one of their laws, then have the FBI begin an investigation and report on progress in a brief meeting every so often. Once investigated, Congress then should require DoJ to report as to indictment and/or conviction.
7 Benghazi Probes – (Washington Post fact check as of May 2016) The monthly bills for the Benghazi Committee can be found on two sections of the website of the Committee on House Administration. They are signed by Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), the committee chairman, as is routine. Below is a rounded in total version of their information. (There are costs from May – December 2016 that should be added.)
2014 – apportioned $3.2 milion spent $1.8 million
2015 – apportioned $4.6 million spent $3.8 million
2016 – apportioned $4.6 million spent $1.2 million
Spent by Republicans: $4.445 million
Spent by Democrats: $2.325 million
Total: $6.77 million
Those are reported dollars but we also have to ask how much each and every person involved spent in backroom shenanigans and with media to slant stories in a way that whitewashed Clinton and others while making it seem nothing of import came out of committee hearings.
Gowdy for all some might say otherwise has been able to produce all manner of activities that by rights should have been remanded for further legal action. Given the climate of Washington during the last eight years, it is highly improbable that a real court case and investigation would never received a fair and impartial trial. The best citizens could have hoped for WAS the committee hearings which brought out publicly the issues, even though the hearing had no constitutional teeth available to bring those involved to justice. So on the issue of cost in time and effort in this case a congressional hearing where actual justice during those years were in question, having a hearing with its expenses during Gowdy’s term was beneficial.
That said, it behooves Congress and the American citizens to provide a way forward that holds with the purpose of branches and not with the politics of the day. Taxpayers should not be on the hook for so much money in “hearings” when there are obviously budget constraints that need to be met as well as legal issues to be pursued. The millions spent is small in light of other expenditures but how many social welfare or veteran benefit programs would have benefited from even half of that sum? How many grants to encourage small businesses or efforts to clean up waterways or any number of disaster relief efforts could have benefited?
But then who am I–only a Deplorable, a citizen born and reared in the US, a patriot, and a concerned senior citizen……..