What Fresh Hell Is This?

June 26, 2007

Civics Lesson on Vice-Presidential Authority

The Office of the Vice-President believes some odd things:
The Oversight Committee has learned that over the objections of the National Archives, Vice President Cheney exempted his office from the presidential order that establishes government-wide procedures for safeguarding classified national security information. The Vice President asserts that his office is not an “entity within the executive branch.”
This is in conflict with the Executive Order signed by dubya in March, 2003. Here's the definition from that EO mentioned above:
"Agency" means any "Executive agency," as defined in 5 U.S.C. 105; any "Military department" as defined in 5 U.S.C. 102; and any other entity within the executive branch that comes into the possession of classified information.
But wait, what about that USC stuff in there? Perhaps there's a little wiggle room for the big Dick.

Uh, no. Here's 5 U.S.C. 102:
For the purpose of this title, “Executive agency” means an Executive department, a Government corporation, and an independent establishment.
Seems pretty clear that the OVP is in the Executive Branch. It's even mentioned in the same Article of the Constitution as the Chief Executive (Article Two, for those of you keeping score at home). This is from Section 1:
The executive Power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America. He shall hold his Office during the Term of four Years, and, together with the Vice President, chosen for the same Term,
The section goes on to describe how the President and Vice-President are elected. And Section 4, how they can be removed:
The President, Vice President and all Civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.

So that portion of the Constitution that describes the Executive branch, mentions both President and Vice-President - how they're elected, the duties and how they can be removed from office.

Cheney rests his entire position on Article 1 Section 3:

The Vice President of the United States shall be President of the Senate but shall have no Vote, unless they be equally divided.
That because he presides over the Senate, he's something else. Still doesn't put him outside the boundaries of 5 U.S.C. 102, though. Does it?

In any event, Rahm Emanuel has a solution:
If Vice President Cheney believes his office is not an "entity within the executive branch," then a House Democratic leader says taxpayers shouldn't have to finance his executive expenses.
But in covering Dick's ass, the White House spun itself out of reality as well:
White House spokesman Tony Fratto said Sunday that President Bush agrees with Cheney's analysis. The executive order's reporting requirements do not apply to the offices of the president or vice president, Fratto said.
But take another look at the EO above. No wait, I'll reprint it down here so you won't have to scroll:
"Agency" means any "Executive agency," as defined in 5 U.S.C. 105; any "Military department" as defined in 5 U.S.C. 102; and any other entity within the executive branch that comes into the possession of classified information.
Seems clear to me. "Any" means "any", right?


Anonymous said...

Cheney's gone Buck Turgidson on us in a big way.

This isn't even funny. It's just bizarre and scary.

I think it would be in the best interests of the country to begin impeachment proceedings against him right now...


Sherry said...

it is bizarre and scary.

it's almost like a coup.

EdHeath said...

If the Veep is an entity of the Senate, fine. The Senate ethics committee could compel him to appear before their committee, produce and maintain documents, in fact to submit all his secret meeting records into the Senate records. It’s not like he would claim executive privilege or anything.

Richmond K. Turner said...

I'm saying this in all honesty; I truly thought, when I first heard about this, that Cheney was doing some kind of belated April Fool's Day joke, leveraging his image as a cranky old man to do something so outrageous that nobody would actually believe that he meant it. And then I realized that he actually does mean it.

If he's not part of the executive branch, then how come his job security depends, in it's entirety, on who is elected at President? Isn't that more or less the classic definition of the executive branch? If you get elected to your office on the exact same ticket as the President, isn't it pretty damn clear that you are in the executive branch?

Maria said...

Tsk Tsk

Expecting logic (or honesty) from the Bush Admin.

Silly Billy!