Wednesday, July 27, 2005

WH changes more rules

In addition to refusing to turn over documents related to Supremes nominee Jonh Roberts' timeas deputy solicitor general in Poppa Bush's administration, the WH also annouced Roberts' tax returns are also off-limits to Senate investigators. In a break with precedent, the IRS will provide a one-page summary to the Senate Judiciary Committee instead of tax returns covering the the past 3 years.

According to John Anthony Maltese, a Professor at the University of Georgia
"The only reason I can assume some members would be trying to seek these kinds of documents would be to get something embarrassing or awkward, or that would allow them to paint Roberts as extreme on some issue," he said.
Something embarrassing like failing to pay SS taxes on household help, perhaps?

Bush advisers yesterday were pressed to explain why documents generated when Roberts was a lawyer in the White House counsel's office were being disclosed but those from his work as a lawyer in the Justice Department's solicitor general office were not. McClellan said the difference was that documents from the counsel's office were covered by the Presidential Records Act, which calls for a presumption of disclosure, and those from the Solicitor General's Office were not.

Not all Republicans sounded so sure. Asked why some legal memos could be disclosed and others could not, Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter (R., Pa.) said: "That's a weighty question which I would want to research before I answered."

BushCo changed the policy in 2001 to "reduce duplicative paperwork" and streamline the process, but failed to announce the change - or even mention it to many on the Senate Judiciary Committee. As far as the administration is concerned, if the IRS didn't notice irregularities or investigate anything in the past 3 years, there couldn't possibly be anything in the returns themselves that could be even remotely questionable. . . or could there?


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