Rep. Darrell Issa is not working from a position of strength. As the ranking Republican on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Issa wants to exercise some, well, oversight when it comes to the Obama administration’s controversial decision to transfer control of the Census Bureau from professionals at the Commerce Department to political aides in the White House. But as a member of the minority party on Capitol Hill, Issa doesn’t have the power to compel the administration to do anything.
So after eight years, we are back to the whole “it’s fine to investigate the President”? I ask that because whenever Democrats said something about investigating Bush, the Republicans would say “oh don’t do that, it really hurt us when we investigated Clinton”.
- Now what are some of the things Democrats wanted to investigate?
- Being lied into a war that has killed tens of thousands and wounded hundreds of thousands
- Our troops being poisoned by contractors in Iraq
- The politicization of the Justice Department
- Outing a CIA agent for political gain
- illegal wiretapping of U.S. citizens
- etc, etc, etc
Silly me! None of those are as important as transferring the Census Bureau to the White House.
Now let’s look at a not so obvious difference between my little list up there and what Issa wants to investigate. Hmmm – see it? Oh yeah – all my items happen to be illegal. Moving the Census Bureau – not so much. Conducting a census is defined under article 1, section 2 of the Constitution. Congress decided this power would be left in the administrative branch when they passed the Census Act of 1840. As matter of fact the Census Bureau was part of the Department of the Interior, until 1903, when it became part of the Department of Commerce and Labor. It then moved again in 1913 when the Commerce and Labor split, as it became part of Commerce.
I don’t see anything illegal about this move by Obama (perhaps someone more legal minded could check into this). As matter of fact, the only time that the actual location of the Census Bureau was defined was in the Census Act of 1840, and then it was to be handled by the Secretary of State. Maybe Obama should say he will let Hillary handle it.