Ten years and $21 million later the independent counsel investigation of former San Antonio Mayor and HUD Secretary Henry Cisneros is still trucking right along. This in spite of the fact that its chief target plead guilty to the crime being investigated six years ago and paid a $10,000 fine, and was subsequently pardoned four years ago.
As recently as last year, David Barrett’s ongoing probe of Henry Cisneros billed taxpayers $1.26 million during the six months ending Sept. 30, 2004. The never-ending investigation has been spending about $2 million annually.
Now, finally, the U.S. Senate is planning to shutoff the money spigot for this fiasco.
The Senate agreed Thursday to cut off money to the decade-long investigation of former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Henry Cisneros, which has cost nearly $21 million.
``This is the most unbelievable waste of taxpayers money I've ever seen,'' said Sen. Byron Dorgan, who sponsored the bill to pull the plug. ``It's been 10 years since the investigation started, six years since the subject of the investigation pleaded guilty and four years since the subject was pardoned.''
But rather than applauding this fiscally conservative effort to save taxpayers’ money, Republicans are suddenly squealing about a cover-up. They insist that Barrett has spent all this time investigating an unrelated charge of corruption and political manipulation within the IRS.
It seems that some right-wing critics of the Clinton administration were audited at some point in the past - proof of a vile conspiracy to intimidate them and shut them up! (Too bad it apparently didn’t work.)
They also whine that the reason the investigation has taken this long is because Cisneros has insisted on defending himself with court appeals!! The nerve!!!!
As the Wall Street Journal noted in an April 22 editorial, “any blame for this delay lies mainly with Mr. Cisneros’ lawyers at Williams and Connolly, who have filed more than 190 motions and appeals; one single appeal took some 18 months to deal with.
Perhaps the appeals have been holding up Barrett’s investigation because they actually have some merit? Nah! I’m sure it must be liberal judges trying to shield the Clinton’s and keep their grand liberal conspiracy from being uncovered. I’m sure Barrett only needs a few more years and several million more dollars to wrap things up.