"Oversight is just as important, if not more important, than legislation," said Rep. Henry A. Waxman (D-Calif.), chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. The new investigations illustrate just how many questions went unanswered in the six years when Democrats "couldn't hold hearings, we couldn't compel information . . . all we could do was ask for it," he said.Tom Davis (R-VA) used his Committee chairmanship for 12 years to cover up administration scandals and blackmail campaign contributions for himself and his wife. Now Davis is in the passenger seat. Entrenched incumbents had continued their law breaking, and honest politicians fell by the wayside, forced to compete with the crooks by joining them or leaving public service. Now Waxman is issuing subpoenas.
See the latest on the connection between the media and the cover ups on PBS tonight.
Since Democrats assumed control of Congress in January, they have hired more than 200 investigative staffers for key watchdog committees. They include lawyers, former reporters and congressional staffers who left oversight committees that had all but atrophied during the six years that the GOP controlled Congress and the White House. They have already begun a series of inquiries on subjects ranging from allegations of administration meddling in federal scientists' work on global warming and the General Services Administration's alleged work for Republican campaigns to how disproved claims that Iraq had purchased nuclear material from Niger evolved into a case for war.