OLC Gave Guidance To Obama On 14th Amendment During Debt Ceiling Showdown

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November 29, 2011 6:00 a.m.

The Office of Legal Counsel advised President Barack Obama on whether he could ignore Congress and raise the debt ceiling himself under the 14th Amendment. We just don’t know what they told him.

TPM filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for any final memo that OLC issued on whether Obama — as progressives had wanted — could continue to pay government obligations if Congress had refused to raise the statutory debt limit.In a Nov. 22 response, DOJ’s Paul P. Colborn told us that the four documents responsive to our request “are protected by the deliberative process, the attorney client, and the presidential communications privileges.” TPM plans to appeal.

The Treasury Department had said the 14th Amendment option wasn’t considered viable. Ultimately, of course, Congress voted to raise the debt ceiling.

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