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Senator Feingold Loves the Bush Administration … Only, It’s a Secret Love

russ-feingold.jpgI love Russ Feingold (D-WI), because he’s one of the few high-ranking Dems who actually speaks his mind and says the shit many of us want to hear. Last Thursday, he published an op-ed in the LA Times bringing it Bush for being so secretive with the law:

It’s a given in our democracy that laws should be a matter of public record. But the law in this country includes not just statutes and regulations, which the public can readily access. It also includes binding legal interpretations made by courts and the executive branch. These interpretations are increasingly being withheld from the public and Congress.
The memos on torture policy that have been released or leaked hint at a much bigger body of law about which we know virtually nothing. The Yoo memo was filled with references to other Justice Department memos that have yet to see the light of day, on subjects including the government’s ability to detain U.S. citizens without congressional authorization and the government’s ability to bypass the 4th Amendment in domestic military operations.
The code of secrecy also extends to yet another body of law: changes to executive orders. The administration takes the position that a president can “waive” or “modify” a published executive order without any public notice — simply by not following it. It’s every president’s prerogative to change an executive order, but doing so without public notice works a secret change in the law. And, because the published order stays on the books, Congress and the public have no idea that it’s no longer in effect. We don’t know how many of these covert changes have been made by this administration or, for that matter, by past administrations.

The money quote is where Feingold notes: “But there’s a big difference between withholding information about military or intelligence operations from the public and withholding the law that governs the executive branch. Keeping the law secret doesn’t enhance national security, but it does give the government free rein to operate without oversight or accountability.” And so Feingold is calling on Congress to pass legislation that would require Bush to bring his “secret” actions to Congress’ attention.

Don’t hold your breath on this one though, because most of Congress doesn’t have the balls of Mr. Feingold.