Tuesday, May 10, 2005
Oil for Food: The going gets weird
I'll start with Smilin' Norm Coleman's
latest unsubstantiated broadside:
But Sen. Norm Coleman, R-Minn., who chairs the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations and has repeatedly called for Annan to resign, released a statement saying that he has ordered his staff to issue subpoenas as soon as possible to Parton and Miranda Duncan, a second investigator who also quit.
"I spoke with Mr. Volcker yesterday and expressed my grave and growing concerns about the credibility and independence of the investigation into the criminal misconduct that occurred in the U.N. oil-for-food program," Coleman said.
The U.N. gave Parton and Duncan diplomatic immunity as investigators on Volcker's IIC panel. The immunity exempts them from Congressional subpoenas. Regardless, Parton delivered confidential documents he stole from the committee to Henry Hyde. Hyde, of course, had nothing but praise
for the man who violated his pledge as an investigator:
"I consider Mr. Parton to be an honorable and courageous man who responded to a congressional subpoena as any citizen must," Hyde said.
To really complicate matters, a federal district court judge has issued a temporary restraining order to block the subpoenas. Volcker asked Hyde to return the documents saying that lives of witnesses were at stake:
On Friday, after Volcker asked for the documents to be returned, Rep. Henry J. Hyde, R-Ill., refused. Hyde, chairman of the House International Relations Committee, said he appreciated the gravity of Volcker's concerns but that his committee is obligated to continue its own investigation.
What's it really all about? The Republican base hates the U.N. There's wasn't enough room on the dais for all the hopefuls to condemn the Constitutional separation of powers on Justice Sunday, so second-tier Republicans have to tilt at Kofi Annan because he noticed that the invasion of Iraq was as illegal as the British admitted (eight months in advance
So far, there hasn't been much there, but Republicans are pinning their hopes to audio tapes that Parton stole from the committee. In true McCarthyite fashion, Smilin' Norm isn't just naming names -- he's leaking his intent to name names so that his announcement garners the maximum amount of attention. It's hard to get off page A17 when runaway brides are checking into rehab.