How's this for protecting corruption in your ranks?
A new article in the Hill
that House Republicans hid for weeks subpoenas from investigators probing the Cunningham scandal, and in the process may have allowed evidence to be destroyed.
To you and me that's criminal obstruction; to Congress it's creative use of policies and procedures.
Federal investigators had asked nicely last spring for documents from the House Committees on Intelligence, Armed Services and Appropriations, but got nowhere. House officials moaned
they might have to shut down entirely to dig up everything prosecutors wanted.
Months went by, no documents surfaced, so prosecutors sent subpoenas to the chairs of the three committees, demanding the documents.
What happened next is unclear, because those who know won't tell. But as The Hill
's Susan Crabtree painstakingly details, it appears that GOP leaders delayed reporting the subpoenas until the House had closed up for the year, assuring that they would not become public until the new year.
Congress switched hands, and as the new Democratic majority gained many staff positions to support their leadership roles, Republicans lost many staff slots. As a result, many Republican committee aides either lost their jobs or were shuffled out to other Hill gigs.
What happens to their electronic files -- even if they've been subpoenaed by prosecutors? It appears they are either destroyed, or given to the staffer to keep for themselves.
So the House Republican majority's parting gift to the nation may have been to help obstruct one of the largest corruption investigations in congressional history. Thanks, fellas.