Wednesday, December 14, 2005

More on the Barrett Report

Robert Novak has provided us with an update to the Barrett Report. This outrage could never have happened without Republican complicity. The following was taken verbatim from the latest Evans and Novak weekly newsletter:

Barrett Report: Democrats have their own scandal brewing at the moment, but they are doing much better in covering it up than their Republican counterparts. At issue is the report by David Barrett, the last remaining U.S. independent counsel. Over ten years, Barrett has spent $21 million on the investigation of former Housing Secretary Henry Cisneros, who lied to FBI investigators about hush money paid to an ex-mistress.

The reason the report and the investigation have taken so long is that allies to Cisneros and the legal team of former President Bill Clinton at the powerhouse Washington law firm of Williams and Connolly have fought its progress in court at every step. Meanwhile, Clinton-sympathetic judges have sealed everything concerned with the case, including Barrett's report.

The report contains shocking allegations of high-level corruption in the Internal Revenue Service and Justice Department under Clinton, which Barrett found as Clinton aides monitored his investigation and sought to derail it in order to cover up the Cisneros matter. A regional IRS official had formulated a new rule enabling him to transfer an investigation of Cisneros to Washington to be buried by the Justice Department. Barrett's investigators found Lee Radek, head of Justice's public integrity division, determined to protect President Bill Clinton.

A recently passed appropriations bill, intended to permit release of this report, was altered by Democrats behind closed doors to ensure that its politically combustible elements never see the light of day. Democrats succeeded in inserting instructions into the bill's conference report that are very broad and will allow judges to continue suppressing the report.

Three of the toughest Democrats in Congress -- Sen. Carl Levin, Sen. Byron Dorgan and Rep. Henry Waxman -- have been behind the effort to suppress, and they have done it effectively. The final language authorized the judges "to protect the rights of any individual named" in the report.

With two out of three judges on a three-judge panel inclined to the Democrats, that means hardly anything out of Barrett's allegations will remain in the report made public. The bill was passed by Congress Nov. 18 and signed into law Nov. 30.

The only hope for the public seeing the report lies with Senate Finance Chairman Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), who may still try to force its release. Grassley would love to see a thorough investigation of the tax agency. Otherwise, Republican Congressional sources expect Section B of the report, dealing with the allegations of IRS-Justice corruption, to be eliminated in its entirety. The rest of the report will be so heavily redacted to obey the new Congressional language that it will be of scant interest to either ordinary citizen or legislator.