UN­DUE IN­FLU­ENCE?

The Washington Times Weekly - - Politics -

“Rep. Bar­ney Frank, chair of the House Bank­ing Com­mit­tee, says his suc­cess­ful in­ter­ven­tion to keep a Gen­eral Motors dis­tri­bu­tion cen­ter open in his Mas­sachusetts district isn’t ev­i­dence that Congress will have un­due in­flu­ence in run­ning the new 60 per­cent gov­ern­ment-owned auto com­pany,” John Fund wr ites at www.opin­ionjour­nal.com.

“ ‘I don’t think this will lead to a pat­tern,” Mr. Frank as­sured the Hill news­pa­per re­cently af­ter word spread that his phone calls had se­cured a new lease on life for a GM fa­cil­ity in Nor­ton, Mass.

“The Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion has re­peat­edly said de­ci­sions by the new GM will be made by its ex­ec­u­tives without un­due gov­ern­ment in­flu­ence. But in­flu­ence doesn’t have to take the form of overt or­ders from the White House to be ‘un­due,’ as Mr. Frank’s calls to GM CEO Fritz Hen­der­son showed.

“Mr. Frank says his in­volve­ment isn’t likely to be repli­cated be­cause the fa­cil­ity he went to bat for wasn’t an auto plant or a deal­er­ship. He said keep­ing the dis­tri­bu­tion cen­ter open was en­vi­ron­men­tally sound be­cause oth­er­wise auto par ts would have had to be trucked to New Eng­land from a fa­cil­ity in Philadel­phia. Mr. Frank also waved off a sug­ges­tion that the episode proved that rules are needed to stop law­mak­ers from jawboning to keep plants or deal­er­ships open.

“ ‘I can’t make the con­nec­tion’ that would give the jus­ti­fi­ca­tion for such rules, Mr. Frank cheer­fully says. Af­ter all, he added, he didn’t call the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion to keep the Nor­ton fa­cil­ity open, but in­stead went right to GM man­age­ment.

“Hmm. That’s an ar­gu­ment that dis­proves any hope of GM be­ing run in a ‘non­po­lit­i­cal’ mat­ter. On the con­trary, the ad­min­is­tra­tion might have to in­ter­vene reg­u­larly just to pro­tect the com­pany from 535 leg­is­la­tors. GM Chief Hen­der­son is hardly in a po­si­tion to ig­nore re­quests from pow­er­ful com­mit­tee chair­men like Mr. Frank, be­cause GM will never be done need­ing gov­ern­ment fa­vors, from tax re­bates for car buy­ers to fine-tuning of mileage rules.” at the Depart­ment of Home­land Se­cu­rity,” Rep. Peter Hoek­stra, Michi­gan Repub­li­can, writes at Na­tional Re­view On­line (www.na­tion­al­re­view.com).

“[Two weeks ago], Mudd with­drew his nom­i­na­tion out of con­cern that at­tacks by Se­nate Democrats over his work on anti-ter­ror pro­grams would be a ‘dis­trac­tion’ to the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion. This past Novem­ber, CIA of­fi­cer John Bren­nan pulled his nom­i­na­tion to be CIA deputy di­rec­tor for the same rea­son,” said Mr. Hoek­stra, the rank­ing mem­ber on the House Per­ma­nent Se­lect Com­mit­tee on In­tel­li­gence.

“Democrats are us­ing highly qual­i­fied in­tel­li­gence of­fi­cers as pawns in a po­lit­i­cal game. Th­ese of­fi­cers are be­ing pun­ished not for any wrong­do­ing but for their suc­cess in ad­min­is­ter­ing in­no­va­tive anti-ter­ror pro­grams that kept our na­tion safe from ter­ror­ist at­tack over the last seven years. The pro­grams they helped run were not rogue op­er­a­tions; they were briefed to, re­viewed by, and funded by Congress. In­deed, the record shows that Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi was among the U.S. law­mak­ers who were briefed on th­ese pro­grams from the start. ...

“Pres­i­dent Obama, un­for­tu­nately, has been part of the prob­lem. His state­ment that the CIA com­mit­ted ‘mis­takes’ in its in­ter­ro­ga­tion pro­grams, along with his de­ci­sion to release memos on ter­ror­ist in­ter­ro­ga­tions, sent a mes­sage to in­tel­li­gence pro­fes­sion­als that he will not stand be­hind them.

“It’s time to stop this as­sault on our in­tel­li­gence com­mu­nity, which is not just wrong but also danger­ous.”

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