Roll Call reported this week on one of my very favorite pet issues: oversight through the House Government Reform Committee. Apparently, Republicans on the committee are pursuing careers in comedy, because they’re worried about Democrats taking their responsibilities too seriously.
Rep. Dan Burton — the Indiana Republican who showered subpoenas on the Clinton White House as chairman of the House Government Reform Committee — is joining other Republicans in warning that the committee under its new Democratic leadership may be abusing its subpoena powers.
At the end of March ... Burton, along with committee ranking member Tom Davis (R-Va.) and most of the other Republican members warned that the Democrats are straying close to the line of what is appropriate in oversight.
“Effective, constructive oversight is much more a matter of due diligence and digging than depositions and sensational disclosures,” the Republicans wrote.
Is that so. In the 1990s, Dan Burton & Co. handed out subpoenas like candy. He subpoenaed 141 different Clintonites. He held hearings — for 10 days — on the Clintons’ Christmas card list. In one instance, Burton was so reckless, he subpoenaed the wrong man (looking for someone with a similar name). In another instance, Burton fired a bullet into a “head-like object” — reportedly a melon — in his backyard to test the theory that former White House counsel Vincent Foster was murdered (this from the man who is now warning against “sensational disclosures”).
And now Burton is worried about Dems going too far? Please.