Saturday, October 01, 2005

Cisneros investigation won't end

This is unbelievable. Absolutely unbelievable.

This spring, Republicans and Democrats voiced outrage over the news that independent counsel David M. Barrett was still pursuing a decade-long, $21 million investigation into a crime long confessed and paid for.

Yes, I wrote about it at the time. But now it turns out that Barrett's investigation just keeps on going.

Without debate, the Senate unanimously agreed to strip Barrett of further funding for his inquiry on former housing secretary Henry G. Cisneros.

But, prodded by conservative commentators, House Republican leaders grew convinced that Democrats were trying to suppress embarrassing revelations about the Clinton administration. The Senate provision was ditched behind closed doors, and Barrett and his staff continue to work -- at a cost to taxpayers of nearly $2 million a year -- on an inquiry that seemingly ended 13 months ago.

What this demonstrates is that the House Republican leadership does not believe in good government, they believe only in hard-ball politics. Shut down a pointless investigation that is just wasting taxpayers' money? Not when there is some vague hope, no matter how small, that they may turn up some fresh dirt to throw at Bill Clinton.

From the very beginning, Republicans have used the power of the federal government to launch countless partisan investigations of their political foes. Drunk with power, they are completely unconstrained in spending millions upon millions of taxpayer dollars in pursuit of their political agenda.

In its semiannual audit, the Government Accountability Office said yesterday that Barrett spent $930,742 from October 2004 to March 2005, six years after Cisneros pleaded guilty to the charges Barrett was appointed to investigate -- and more than a year after Barrett submitted his 400-page report for final judicial review. The GAO did not indicate what Barrett has been doing since he finished his report, other than maintain staff and office expenditures that have continued to rise since the investigation ended.

Do you suppose they will finally be shamed into pulling the plug on this waste of an investigation this time?

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