Today's Article
Such limitations on
the bloated whims of
'King George' are a
long time in coming.
The American Spark
Congressional Bill Would Limit Bush Interference With Justice

By Cliff Montgomery - Oct. 25th, 2007

A bill creating "limitations in certain communications between the Department of Justice and the White
House...relating to civil and criminal investigations," was placed on the Senate Legislative Calendar on Tuesday
for an upcoming floor action.

The
Security from Political Interference in Justice Act of 2007 is sponsored by Senator Sheldon Whitehouse
(D-RI), and is co-sponsored by two powerful associates, Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and John Cornyn (R-TX).

It is a legislative attempt to curtail the Bush Administration's penchant for misusing our Justice Department to
spread injustice. Last year's Justice Department firing of numerous U.S. attorneys for political reasons--a
blatantly illegal act, performed with the aid of White House associates Harriet Miers and Karl Rove--is just one
clear-cut instance.

Such limitations on the bloated whims of 'King George' are a long time in coming. But if the bill does pass--and
it almost certainly will need enough congressional supporters to override a veto--exactly how will it restore some
sense of democracy to America?

The American Spark has provided readers with both a congressional summary of the legislation and the text of
the short, amended bill below.

A Congressional Research Service summary states that the bill:

"Authorizes the President and the Attorney General to designate certain officers or employees in their
respective agencies as covered officers for purposes of making a covered communication.

"Defines 'covered communication' to include any communication relating to an ongoing civil or criminal
Department of Justice (DOJ) investigation, and to exclude any communication relating to policy, appointments,
legislation, budgets, public relations, programmatic matters, inter-governmental relations, administrative or
personnel matters, or requests for legal advice.

"Requires the President and the Attorney General, after designating a covered officer, to notify the House and
Senate Committees on the Judiciary of that designation within three days, with an explanation of the necessity
of that designation.

"Allows only covered White House and DOJ officers to make covered communications."

The amended bill, published Tuesday by the Senate Judiciary Committee, may state things even more
forcefully:

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

  "This Act may be cited as the `Security from Political Interference in Justice Act of 2007'.

SEC. 2. DEFINITIONS.

  "In this Act--

        (1) the term `covered communication'--

              (A) means any communication relating to an ongoing investigation conducted by the Department of
Justice in any civil or criminal matter (regardless of whether a civil action or criminal indictment or information
has been filed); and

              (B) does not include any communication relating to policy, appointments, legislation, rulemaking,
budgets, public relations, programmatic matters, inter-governmental relations, administrative or personnel
matters, appellate litigation, or requests for legal advice;

        (2) the term `covered Department of Justice officer' means--

              (A) the Attorney General;

              (B) the Deputy Attorney General; and

              (C) the Associate Attorney General; and

        (3) the term `covered White House officer' means--

              (A) the President;

              (B) the Vice President;

              (C) the Counsel to the President; and

              (D) the Counselor to the President.

SEC. 3. REPORTS TO CONGRESS.

  (a) Department of Justice Report- "Not later than 30 days after each January 1 and July 1 of each calendar
year, the Attorney General shall submit to the Committee on the Judiciary of the Senate and the Committee on
the Judiciary of the House of Representatives a report with the name and title of each officer or employee of
the Department of Justice who made a covered communication during the 6-month period preceding that
January 1 or July 1 with any officer or employee of the Executive Office of the President. The report need not
include any covered Department of Justice officer.

  (b) White House Report- "Not later than 30 days after each January 1 and July 1 of each calendar year, the
Counsel to the President shall submit to the Committee on the Judiciary of the Senate and the Committee on
the Judiciary of the House of Representatives a report with the name and title of each officer or employee of
the Executive Office of the President who made a covered communication during the 6-month period
preceding that January 1 or July 1 with any officer or employee of the Department of Justice. The report need
not include any covered White House officer."



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