Sunday, April 04, 2004

Prescription Drug Secrecy gets "Executive Priveleged"

Thanks here to Eric Alterman. Yeah, it looks like the Bush Administration has found a new weapon to hide their lies from the public.

Everyone remembers this case, of course. The Bush Administration knew the estimates of the costs of the prescription drug bill were far over estimates, but the Bush Administration kept those higher estimates from congress in order to help persuade Republican deficit hawks to vote for the bill. Here's the LA Times on the subject: More lies
At issue are allegations that then-Medicare Administrator Thomas A. Scully threatened to fire his top actuary if he gave lawmakers his analyses showing the costs would be much higher than administration officials were saying publicly. . . .

White House Counsel Alberto R. Gonzales, in a letter to committee Chairman Bill Thomas (R-Bakersfield), cited "long-standing White House policy" against having White House staff members testify before Congress as the reason Badger would not appear.

And Scully, now a private consultant, said in a letter to Thomas that he was unable to appear before the committee because "unfortunately, for the past ten days I have been traveling."
So even relatively minor officials can no longer be compelled to testify before Congress? What is this, a dictatorship now? A man claims to be threatened with his job if he discloses the estimates of costs to the people VOTING on the program, and somehow it threatens the sanctity of office to testify? At least in this case they can't say it is Clinton's fault.
Committee Democrats rejected both explanations. In the case of Badger, they said at least 45 high-ranking Clinton administration officials had testified before Congress; in the case of Scully, they offered to let him appear at a later time. But Republicans quashed the Democrats' attempts to subpoena the men.Pretty soon no member of the Bush Administration will be allowed to testify. And, hey, I don't think ALL of them are liars. . .