As the nation hovers on brink of economic collapse, what could well push us under for the count is Obamacare – crafted as the successor to “Hillarycare,” the socialist answer of the former first lady and now secretary of state to our alleged health insurance woes, which died an early death during her husband’s administration when it was learned that she had lied to federal Judge Royce C. Lamberth in a case to disclose the deliberations of her advisory committee. The lawsuit, which was filed on behalf of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, was brought under the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA), which was enacted right after President Richard Nixon’s infamous Watergate scandal. It requires in part that federal advisory committees disclose, upon the request of a citizen or public interest group, the names (and related documentation) of non-governmental persons and entities who and which are consulting with the office of the president on matters the advisory committee was set up to deliberate.
The advisory committee President Bill Clinton set up to revamp health care was chaired by Mrs. Clinton. When asked during discovery who was helping Mrs. Clinton shape health-care legislation, she and the Clinton Justice Department lied to the court, saying that only government employees were involved. However, as was later learned, she was also deliberating with private lobbyists in secret – lobbyists who, not coincidentally, represented big health-care interests and who were lining the pockets of the Clinton-Gore re-election campaign and the Democratic Party with large contributions. Indeed, this was the reason that FACA was enacted – to provide transparency so “We the People” can see if lobbyists are getting their hooks into the presidential advisory committees to unduly influence proposed legislation, regulation and policy.
In the early years of the administration of George W. Bush, this new president also declared another important advisory committee (advisory committees are quite common and are used by all presidents to get advice), this one becoming known as the Cheney Energy Task Force. While I was at Judicial Watch as its chairman and general counsel, we sought full disclosure from this advisory committee chaired by the vice president, as it, too, was reportedly meeting with lobbyists to shape energy policy.
Characteristic of how government in the last decades in particular has behaved, Cheney and his minions refused to disclose who they were meeting with, despite the importance of the American people knowing who was influencing the administration on issues that even concern national security and the war against terrorism. Energy is closely tied to the Middle East and thus the war on terrorism.
When we had to file suit to get the names and related documentation, the lower court ordered disclosure. But Cheney appealed all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, and although Judicial Watch revealed much information about his secretive advisory committee through other means, a Republican-controlled court, in a majority opinion written by Justice Antonin Scalia, gutted our lawsuit. Not coincidentally, Cheney had taken Scalia and his son on an all-expense-paid duck-hunting trip while our lawsuit was before the Supremes. Scalia helped return the favor. Incredibly, in his new autobiography, “In My Time,” Cheney discusses Judicial Watch’s case and arrogantly writes at page 317 that “… I believed, and the president backed me up, that we had the right to consult with whomever we chose – and no obligation to tell the press or Congress or anyone else whom we were talking to.” This is the type of attitude and practice used over 200 years earlier by Britain’s King George III that contributed to the Declaration of Independence and the resulting revolution.
There’s a very bad joke that a friend, a Hollywood writer, claimed to have once written for Andrew Dice Clay, the over-the-top male chauvinist comedian of the 1990s. It goes, “What do all battered women have in common?” The punch line: “They just didn’t listen!” With jokes like this, its no wonder my friend, who is talented in other respects, never made it as a comic writer. But the joke sticks in my mind when I think of our government.
Today, recent polls, such as one by the political daily Politico, show that 81 percent of the American people have lost any faith in government. And, in a front-page story of last Wednesday, even the leftist oriented New York Times – which generally worships government control over the people – confirmed that this sentiment is worldwide, suggesting that the earth was about to explode in revolution over its current poor state of affairs. In effect, “We the People” are like battered women; we just will no longer listen to the likes of Hillary Clinton and Dick Cheney and are on the verge of not just a nervous breakdown, but worldwide revolution.
Enter the latest advisory committee outrage: President Obama’s de facto health-care task force. During the period leading up to the enactment of Obamacare, the president and his socialist minions were meeting in secret with health industry lobbyists, such as Planned Parenthood, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America. However, given the legal troubles Hillary and Dick experienced, Obama was clever. In an effort to avoid legally triggering FACA, he never formally declared an advisory committee, but instead created one “under the table.” So when I filed suit arguing in effect that a “dog that meows is really a cat,” I claimed that the law applied. And, interestingly, a Clinton-appointed federal judge, Richard Roberts, agreed that I might be right. In ruling recently that I could get access to any ongoing communications and sit in on meetings between the White House and health-care lobbyists if they are continuing – as they surely must given Obamacare’s complex implementation – he ordered the president to disclose if indeed they are occurring.
Last Monday, Obama responded through a White House counsel and his Justice Department, and dodged answering the question. I have now asked the court to allow me to depose, under oath, the White House counsel who signed a sworn affidavit attesting, incredibly, that because no formal advisory committee was ever declared by the president, no such communications by definition could be occurring as a matter of law. This absurd and dishonest response obviously confirms that communications with lobbyists are in progress and subject to scrutiny.
Stay tuned. Obamacare is likely to come unglued just as Hillarycare came undone; characteristically by government deceit. Couple this with the constitutional challenge to the law now ironically also before the Supreme Court, and this “wicked witch” is likely on the verge of death.