PODESTA: CONGRESS SHOULD PURSUE CONTEMPT CITATIONS. At a meeting with journalists this morning, John Podesta, president and CEO of the Center for American Progress (and former chief of staff in the Clinton White House), urged congressional leaders in both chambers to pursue threatened charges of contempt of Congress against White House personnel who have refused to cooperate with Judiciary Committees in both the House and Senate.
As I wrote last week, the House Judiciary Committee voted to pursue contempt charges against White House Chief of Staff Joshua Bolten and former White House Counsel Harriet Miers for their defiance of a subpoena to testify in hearings concerning the controversial firings of nine U.S. attorneys. House leaders, however, have yet to schedule a vote on the matter.
In the Senate, Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy declared White House officials to be in contempt of Congress for their failure to provide the committee with subpoenaed documents in the domestic spying program conducted by the National Security Agency (NSA), but has yet to commit to making formal charges against administration officials.
"Both committees have put their reputations on the line ..." Podesta said, in answer to my request for his take on the situation. "They need to pursue this up to and including contempt citations."
Since White House officials have said that they will not permit the Department of Justice to prosecute criminal contempt citations, Podesta explained, the Senate Judiciary Committee should exercise its option to pursue civil contempt citations.
--Adele M. Stan