Saturday, December 5, 2009

Obama's Social Secretary Will Not Testify

Sally made reference to this story in the Big Fat Friday entry, but here's a Time article on President Obama's Social Secretary Desiree Rogers refusal to testify before a Congressional committee investigating "Gate-gate", or the crash of the state dinner by a couple of pitiful Northern Virginia society wanna-bes.

While President Obama's strident criticisms of the Bush Administration for its assertion of privilege with respect to White House Staff being compelled to testify before Congress now ring hollow, the plain truth of the matter is that he is right to assert this privilege, just as Bush was.

We operate under a system of separation of powers--co-equal branches exist to provide structure, governance and justice to our country. The Constitution makes provision for the "advise and consent" function with respect to certain Presidential appointments--but outside of that, the President's staff is an extension of his office--and as such, the Congress can investigate all it wants, but if the President doesn't want his staff to cooperate, they don't have to. Political pressure sometimes causes Presidents to allow staff testimony, but this is discretion that the President alone may exercise. This may seem odd to some, but those who would support Congress on this one have to explain why the same rules would not apply to an Executive Branch request for testimony from a Congressional Staff Assistant. If the US Attorney hauled a staff assistant in and asked him or her to divulge private conversations with a Senator--the entire Senate would come unglued.

So is the concept of Desiree Rogers not testifying on the breach of security at the White House a ridiculous assertion of executive privilege? Absolutely. Does that make it wrong? Nope.


Mudge said...

well stated.

"The Hammer" said...

On " she is described as "Desiree Rogers holds the golden ticket to the White House as President Obama’s Social Secretary, the first African-American to hold the cabinet position." A cabinet position? WTF? This woman, rather than doing her job and working the door, invited herself to the party.

TeeJay said...

I can't say I agree with your conclusion that this is a "ridiculous assertion of executive privilege." By your own argument, allowing carte blanche access to staffer could cause the Senate to "come unglued." If Obama doesn't hold the line on a minor, unimportant issue, he could be opening himself up to major pressure if a large investigation comes along, especially with a minority opposition desperate to discredit him. Not defending his staffers could have a deleterious effect on his administration's ability to operate. It was a smart, well-calculated political decision- far from ridiculous.

"The Hammer" said...

What's next, the White House barber?

The Conservative Wahoo said...

Um--is your argument solely with that I called it ridiculous--because it must be, as I also said it was the right thing to do.

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