Although the Republican Party is often too complicit or cowardly to hold President Obama accountable for his actions, it is finally showing some tenacity in investigating Obama’s “apparent crime” of partisan fundraising inside the White House. On Monday, Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus wrote a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder “to request a Department of Justice investigation into an apparent crime committed by President Barack Obama.” In late June, Obama recorded the “Dinner with Barack and Joe” video, asking Democratic donors to enter a raffle to win dinner with the president and vice president, in the White House Map Room.
The Hatch Act makes it illegal to “solicit…a donation of money or other thing of value in connection with a Federal, State, or local election, while in any room or building occupied in the discharge of official duties.”
Priebus wrote, “The Map Room has been used for a myriad of official duties, including the administration of the oath of office to President Obama by Chief Justice Roberts and the launch of ‘The Campaign to Cut Waste.’”
“If President Obama recorded the video in the Map Room, then it appears he has committed a crime under federal law.”
Priebus noted in the letter he could have called for the appointment of a special prosecutor but reconsidered because of the public expense — a consideration never afforded the public by the Democratic Party. However, he rightly judged he stands little chance of receiving a just investigation from Eric Holder. “Under your leadership,” he wrote, “the Department of Justice has consistently ignored the law in order to protect the President politically.” He cited Holder’s refusal to defend the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in federal law and his dismissal of the Black Panther voter intimidation case.
The Republican chairman’s letter follows an inquiry from Congressman Darrell Issa, which alleges a wide-ranging effort to use federal offices to fill Democratic coffers while systematically depriving Republicans of campaign funds.
The Democratic Party defended itself by accusing the Republicans of greater violations — and, incredibly, insisting Barack Obama has been the most transparent president in history. “This is a disgraceful, desperate and politically-motivated attempt at getting headlines by a Republican Party awash in special interest cash which is fighting to preserve tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires at the expense of seniors,” said Democratic National Committee spokesman Brad Woodhouse. He called Priebus’ letter “an effort to distract from the fact that the President has run the most open and transparent White House and campaign ever.”
The allegation is ironic indeed. Polito‘s own Jim VandeHei reported that Obama officials met with lobbyists across the street from the White House to avoid transparency. In March, Darrell Issa accused the administration of punishing Homeland Security whistleblower Catherine Papoi. The allegation came on the same day Obama was to receive an award for transparency.
Although this author would have preferred the Republicans chose to stand their ground on the Libyan war, the ever-expanding Czardoms, or closing the door to unilateral schemes to raise the debt limit, it seems conservatives have to take our victories where we can get them.
Photo Credit: Dustin C. Oliver Creative Commons