Dick Cheney- Corporate Criminal
Details the myriad illegal, immoral, and unethical activities of Dick Cheney when CEO of Halliburton, his obstruction of justice, and lies to the American public since his appointment as Vice President. For information on an equally corrupt politician, see link to Tom DeLay-Corporate Whore. Be sure to visit our cavernous vault of archives.
GAO issues final energy report
Democrats blast Cheney, White House on secrecy
By William L. Watts, CBS.MarketWatch.com
Last Update: 4:24 PM ET Aug. 25, 2003
WASHINGTON (CBS.MW) -- Questions regarding who helped formulate the White House's 2001 energy plan and how much the process cost remain a mystery to congressional investigators and the public, said a General Accounting Office study released Monday.
The conclusion is no surprise since a federal judge in December derailed the GAO probe, dismissing a lawsuit filed by the congressional investigative agency seeking details of contacts between the energy task force, which was headed by Vice President Dick Cheney, and energy industry officials. See archived story.
Congressional Democrats, who had sought the probe, said the final report underscored a lack of openness with the public.
"The Bush Administration is obsessed with secrecy. This is profoundly unhealthy to our democracy," said Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif. "The result is not just bad decisions on energy, but a rejection of the principles of open government and public accountability."
Cheney spokeswoman Jennifer Millerwise, in a statement, said that with the court's earlier dismissal of the GAO lawsuit and Monday's final report, "we hope that everyone will now focus as strongly as the administration has on meeting America's energy needs."
While stopping short of invoking a claim of executive privilege, the administration has refused to provide details regarding who the vice president met with in formulating the policy, saying such action would deprive the executive branch of the freedom to solicit wide-ranging and unvarnished opinions from outside the government.
The GAO report concludes that the task force "met with, solicited input from, or received information and advice from nonfederal energy stakeholders, principally petroleum, coal, nuclear, natural gas, and electricity industry representatives and lobbyists."
The extent to which their input shaped the final report, however, "cannot be determined based on the limited information made available to the GAO," the report said.
Efforts to determine the cost of developing the energy program were also stymied by the refusal of the Office of the Vice President and the Energy Department to provide comprehensive cost data, GAO said, complaining that of the 77 pages of information provided by Cheney's office, "two-thirds ... contained no cost information while the remaining one-third contained some miscellaneous information of little or no usefulness."
Meanwhile, a separate lawsuit by the conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch and the Sierra Club, a liberal environmental organization, aiming to pry loose some of the same information has fared better, with a divided federal appeals panel earlier this summer ruling that the White House has to comply with a lower court order to produce requested documents.
The Justice Department has asked the full appeals court to review the ruling.
The GAO dropped its lawsuit against Cheney after U.S. District Judge John Bates said the court lacked the authority to enter into the "historically unprecedented" dispute between Cheney and Congress.
"Such an excursion by the judiciary would be unprecedented and would fly in the face of the restricted role of the federal courts under the Constitution. Accordingly, the complaint must be dismissed," wrote Bates, an appointee of President Bush.
The energy plan called for expanded oil and gas drilling on public land and for easing regulatory barriers to building nuclear power plants. Among the proposals: drilling in the Arctic wildlife refuge and possibly reviving nuclear fuel reprocessing, which was abandoned in the 1970s as a nuclear proliferation threat.