On Tuesday, House oversight committee ranking Democratic member Rep. Elijah Cummings slammed committee chairman Rep. Darrell Issa for “failing to include,” in a letter challenging President Barack Obama’s use of deliberative process executive privilege, what he considers relevant information about the related case law.
But in his “rapid response” press release, Cummings himself failed to include what may be the most critical element of that case law — one that by Obama’s and Attorney General Eric Holder’s own admissions appears to invalidate their claims.
“The Chairman’s letter omitted key passages from the Espy case that make very clear the scope of the deliberative process privilege,” Cummings’ office blasted out to reporters, citing examples of what Cummings believes were “key” omissions.
“The Committee’s credibility is undermined by failing to include this key information in a letter to the President and mischaracterizing the federal court ruling in Espy,” Cummings’ office added.
“In re Sealed Case (Espy)” was a 1997 Washington, D.C. Circuit Court case that established the limits of executive privilege claims by the White House. The Court in that case determined how deep the presidential privilege can legally extend into the federal government’s bureaucracy.
In Tuesday’s press release, Cummings’ office failed to tell reporters that, according to the Congressional Research Service, the type of privilege Obama has asserted — and Cummings has defended — “disappears altogether when there is any reason to believe government misconduct has occurred.”
Obama, Holder and Cummings have all conceded that “government misconduct” was likely in Operation Fast and Furious.
“To the extent we find that mistakes occurred, people will be held accountable,” Holder has said of the scandal.
In a March 22, 2011, interview with Univision, Obama said that “there may be a situation here in which a serious mistake was made and if that’s the case then we’ll find out and we’ll hold somebody accountable.”
Cummings has promised the family of Border Patrol agent Brian Terry he would “not rest” until “everybody involved in this process” is held accountable for their actions.
Ashley Etienne, a Cummings spokeswoman, declined to answer when The Daily Caller asked her to address the inconsistencies in her boss’s logic.