U.S. Senator Benjamin L. Cardin, D-MD, today called on Attorney General Alberto Gonzales to “stop selectively claiming executive privilege to keep the whole truth and the facts from Congress.”
The Senator, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, has been highly critical of the White House’s selective claims of executive privilege and its refusal to turn over information about the firing of the nine U.S. Attorneys.
Last week, the White House unveiled a new assertion of executive privilege, claiming that the Department of Justice (DOJ) will never be allowed to pursue contempt charges initiated by Congress.
“We are a nation of laws and no one is above the law, including the President or his advisers,” said Senator Cardin.
“The White House’s assertion sets the principle of executive privilege on its head, and I believe seriously threatens our system of checks and balances.
The Congress has an important oversight function, and I strongly disagree with the White House’s assert that it is above congressional oversight.”
The Senator also was highly critical of the Attorney General’s last appearance before the Committee on April 19 in which he failed to answer more than 100 questions.
At today’s hearing, Senator Cardin criticized the Attorney General for still not specifically knowing whether names for the U.S. Attorneys were added to the firings list for improper political reasons.
“The Attorney General has failed once again to provide crucial information to Congress that it needs to properly conduct oversight, and to ensure that the Department of Justice operates within the rule of law and makes decisions on hiring and firing without improper political influence.”