Last night, years of House oversight efforts yielded three big breakthroughs. Here’s a quick rundown of what happened:
- Executive Overreach: First, the Supreme Court granted the House time to make oral arguments in United States v. Texas—a case challenging the administration’s executive overreach on immigration. Earlier this month, the House voted to authorize Speaker Ryan to file an amicus brief defending Congress’s Article 1 powers under the Constitution to write laws. We want to make our case directly to the Court, and now we will have that chance. As Speaker Ryan said, “The Constitution is clear: Presidents don’t write laws. Congress does.”
- Fast and Furious: Next, after years of stonewalling, the administration threw in the towel on withholding thousands of documents related to Congress’s investigation of Fast and Furious—the gun trafficking scandal that funneled arms into the hands of Mexican drug cartels. Prior to the announcement on Friday evening, the House filed an appeal in the ongoing court case over these documents. It’s shameful that it took this long, and we will continue to push for the full range of documents, but this release will help us get closer to the truth about this disastrous operation.
- Benghazi: And lastly, in response to a November 2014 request from the House Select Committee on Benghazi, the State Department finally turned over 1,100 documents central to the investigation, including files of several senior officials from the Office of the Secretary. As Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-SC) said, “This investigation is about a terrorist attack that killed four Americans, and it could have been completed a lot sooner if the administration had not delayed and delayed and delayed at every turn."
We will continue our aggressive oversight to hold the Obama administration accountable and defend the Constitution. To learn more about these most recent breakthroughs, check out the articles below:
The Supreme Court has agreed to give the House time during oral arguments this month on whether President Obama's executive actions on immigrations should be struck down.
In an order Friday, the court said the House of Representatives would get 15 of the 90 minutes reserved for oral arguments on April 18.
The announcement comes after the House's legal counsel filed an amicus brief this week on behalf of the full chamber, arguing that Obama overstepped his authority in issuing new policies to delay deportations for millions of illegal immigrants.
Speaker Paul Ryan's (R-Wis.) office previously said it would seek time during oral arguments to present the House's case.
The Speaker maintained that the amicus brief should be filed as an argument offered by the full House, instead of only Republicans, in order to bolster the argument that Obama superseded the authority granted to Congress to make new laws.
The House passed a resolution largely along party lines last month authorizing the Speaker to file the amicus brief.
The executive actions, issued shortly after the 2014 midterm elections, have been on hold for more than a year after a federal judge's ruling. Twenty-six states led by Texas sued the Obama administration shortly after the president issued the executive actions.
Four years after asserting executive privilege to block Congress from obtaining documents relating to a controversial federal gun trafficking investigation, President Barack Obama relented Friday, turning over to lawmakers thousands of pages of records that led to unusual House votes holding Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt in 2012
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After getting word that the Justice Department was turning over records, Chaffetz updated his statement, indicating that the House plans to press its appeal to get records beyond the ones the administration is providing.
"Today, under court order, DOJ turned over some of the subpoenaed documents. The Committee, however, is entitled to the full range of documents for which it brought this lawsuit. Accordingly, we have appealed the District Court’s ruling in order to secure those additional documents," Chaffetz said.
The State Department on Friday turned over more than 1,100 pages of records to the House Select Committee on Benghazi, over a year after the committee first requested them for their ongoing investigation into the 2012 terror attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya.
The committee’s chairman, Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., also criticized the State Department’s delayed response to the request.
The records released included emails from then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s then-chief of staff, Cheryl Mills, and Clinton aides Jake Sullivan, Human Abedin, as well as then-U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice, according to a statement from the Congressional committee.
Also included were files stored on computer networks used by senior employees within Clinton’s office.