Drudge Retort: The Other Side of the News
Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Although legal experts warned at the time that little would come of Rep. Darrell Issa's (R-Calif.) attempt to prosecute former IRS official Lois Lerner for contempt of Congress, Republicans on Issa's Oversight and Government Reform Committee were infuriated to learn Thursday that a key obstacle is a Reagan administration legal opinion. The conservative lawyer Theodore Olson, while serving in Reagan's Office of Legal Counsel in 1984, wrote that Congress cannot force a prosecutor to take a contempt of Congress accusation to a grand jury. The prosecutor has discretion not to pursue the charge. "We believe Congress may not direct the executive to prosecute a particular individual without leaving any discretion to the executive to determine whether a violation of the law has occurred," Olson wrote

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"Issa's Democratic counterpart on the committee, Rep. Elijah Cummings (Md.) was happy to find that opinion himself, written by conservative lawyer Theodore Olson when he worked for President Ronald Reagan's Office of Legal Counsel in 1984.

"What it says is, 'We believe Congress may not direct the executive to prosecute a particular individual without leaving any discretion to the executive to determine whether a violation of the law has occurred.' That's what the opinion says -- a 1984 opinion dated May 30," Cummings said. "This was a contempt citation coming from Congress that he was talking about."

The Obama administration wouldn't be the first to rely on that opinion. The White House also cited it under Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. And although Issa described it as a "new" assertion in the hearing, his own committee heard it in 2012 when Congress voted to hold the attorney general himself in contempt.

Indeed, the letter asserting it was written by Cole, and Issa was CC'd."

#1 | Posted by Corky at 2014-07-21 12:05 AM | Reply | Flag:

Well, there you go again.

#2 | Posted by Harry_Powell at 2014-07-21 01:42 AM | Reply | Flag:

The clearing of the pathway to the Imperial Presidency.

#3 | Posted by kenx at 2014-07-21 04:05 AM | Reply | Flag: | Newsworthy 1

While the politics are interesting...

It does create a bit of a quandery as Kenx states, why would the President ever prosecute someone that has the Presidents best interest in mind?

I suppose a better question might be how does Congress curtail what they believe is an ever reaching Executive branch?

#4 | Posted by AndreaMackris at 2014-07-21 08:46 PM | Reply | Flag:

Amack,

They could address problems logically and pass legislation to fix the problems. This approach is so foreign to a ------ that it is beyond their comprehension. But if they pray enough and find ministers to school them maybe they will grow the balls to do it. Of course if they did this they would immediately lose funding from the 1%, so it will not happen.

#5 | Posted by nutcase at 2014-07-22 09:10 AM | Reply | Flag:

cor, you are really grasping at straws now. Do you really think tha AG would bring charges against her, Reagan's lawyer or not?

#6 | Posted by Sniper at 2014-07-22 09:19 AM | Reply | Flag:

This is one of those Duh opinions that practicing lawyers face daily. Client is injured or defrauded by someone. Client wants to sue but that takes a lot of time, energy and money. Client wants law enforcement to pursue a criminal charge (often legitimately). Law enforcement/Prosecutors for whatever reason do not or, if they do, settle for a low sentence plea deal.

Options for client: None.

#7 | Posted by Sycophant at 2014-07-22 10:02 AM | Reply | Flag:

I doubt Lois is the Fish they're ultimately after.

#8 | Posted by wisgod at 2014-07-22 10:10 AM | Reply | Flag:

his own committee heard it in 2012 when Congress voted to hold the attorney general himself in contempt.

Indeed, the letter asserting it was written by Cole, and Issa was CC'd."

Issa torched his copy.

#9 | Posted by northguy3 at 2014-07-22 09:58 PM | Reply | Flag: | Funny: 1

#9

That's hilarious.

#10 | Posted by Corky at 2014-07-22 09:59 PM | Reply | Flag:

"I suppose a better question might be how does Congress curtail what they believe is an ever reaching Executive branch?"

Impeachment is the Constitutional method, but Republicans are too scared.

#11 | Posted by DCTexan at 2014-07-22 10:15 PM | Reply | Flag:

I suppose a better question might be how does Congress curtail what they believe is an ever reaching Executive branch?

The House needs to recognize that they don't "rule the roost". The best that they can do on their own is obstruct. The power to act independently rests solely with the POTUS. Obama is the president; get over it!

Prior to Obama, compromise was not an obscenity and half a loaf was better than no loaf. Nooo ... Republicans want the whole loaf when they don't have the juice to get it! They're like petulant children with Boehner being the weak kneed, over-indulgent parent.

The POTUS will no longer kiss republican butt just to get along with them. He never should have done it in the first d..n place.

Given the changing demographics and the ability of republicans to piss off just about everyone except an older white populace and bigots of one stripe or another, republican chances of recapturing the presidency are diminishing every day.

#12 | Posted by FedUpWithPols at 2014-07-23 06:00 AM | Reply | Flag:

"Issa Can't Prosecute Lerner Because of Reagan"

Irony alert.

#13 | Posted by Tor at 2014-07-23 03:46 PM | Reply | Flag:

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