Should Vice President Cheney’s Office Be Exempt From Oversight?

Ok, I know this is the second politically-charged post in a month and I promise I’ll try to lay off for a bit after this one…

Vice President Dick Cheney claims his office is exempt from certain national security disclosure requirements.

  • The Information Security Oversight Office (part of the National Archives) oversees the
    government-wide security classification system
  • They collect data on how much U.S.
    material is classified and declassified.
  • Authorized by a signed presidential
    executive order, agencies of the executive branch are required to hand
    this information over.
  • Cheney’s office provided this information in 2001 and 2002. Then it stopped.
  • Administration officials say Cheney’s office is exempt from the
    executive order, since it has both executive branch and legislative
    functions. (the Vice President also serves as
    president of the Senate, one of the legislative bodies)
  • Five years ago, when details were requested about private meetings Cheney conducted with oil industry executives regarding energy policy, Cheney refused to release the information claiming Executive privilege.
  • The Vice President’s Office cannot be allowed to claim Executive privilege to hide information from the Legislature, and then detach itself from the Executive branch to avoid oversight requirements.
  • The Vice President’s actions are unconstitutional.

I called my representative to tell him I thought so and I talked to a nice young lady who passed my message on to a guy in the D.C. office. He sent me the following e-mail:

Dear Mr. Rhea,

Thank you for contacting Congressman Marchant’s office.

As an elected official and second inline to become President in the event of an emergency, the Vice President is subject to oversight.

Woop. Tee. Do.

So I said:

Thank you very much for replying so quickly. I’m sure your box is full of "re: Immigration" so I truly appreciate you taking the time to address this concern with me.

I agree that the Vice President is subject to oversight, unfortunately the Vice President himself disagrees with us and the question is what will be done about it.

Why ginger-foot around this issue with a bland statement like, "As an elected official and second inline to become President in the event of an emergency, the Vice President is subject to oversight."

Congressman Marchant should say, "Considering the enormous power, responsibility, and influence of the Office, the Vice President is rightly subject to oversight. The necessity of oversight and the checks and balances designed and implemented by the founders of our nation are at the very core of what made this form of government revolutionary at its birth and they are as indispensable today as they were then. For this reason and because as a United States Congressman my first obligation is to support and defend the Constitution of the United States, I urge the Vice President to comply with the National Security disclosure requirements that he has thus far rejected."

Friends, we need to call our Representatives. They have got to hear from us that news stories like this one matter or they will be able to go on believing that "Paris Going to Prison" is more important to the American people than whether or not their Vice President is being allowed to break the law.

Ok, no more political posts until September.

3 thoughts on “Should Vice President Cheney’s Office Be Exempt From Oversight?”

  1. Take that, Mr. Congressman! I’ll make the call, but I can’t guarantee I’ll help the cause b/c words don’t come out of my mouth very well when trying to speak intelligently…
    Don’t stop posting political stuff b/c it’s very helpful to read! Besides, it’s YOUR blog–you put on it what you want.

  2. Suzanne,
    Good for you calling your Rep! I’m sure you sounded perfectly intelligent…I hope you and Laura have fun at Yoga…adios and thanks for your recent flurry of comments!

  3. Word dog. Keep posting political comments. :-) I’m all for that. I’ll let you know when I actually do call someone though…never done it before, but after talking with you about it, I’ve certainly considered it.
    Also, not sure if you’ve addressed this, but at some point we need to address why “politics” is such an “evil” word in “polite” conversation. Shane Claiburne has a great quote on the root meaning behind politics.
    Have fun in FL.

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