If the U.S. Constitution requires “high crimes and misdemeanors” to justify impeaching a president, talk-radio giant Rush Limbaugh reasoned on his program Thursday, would nearly 2,000 illegal actions be enough to qualify?
Limbaugh quoted a July 29 Washington Post article by Juliet Eilperin – whom Rush called “so in the tank for Democrats it’s impossible to categorize” – that nonetheless reported the Obama administration has put into force 1,800 “technically illegal” executive branch regulations since 2012 alone.
“Over the past 2 1/2 years, the Obama administration has published hundreds of rules – on how wheelchairs should be stowed aboard U.S. aircraft, how foreign trade zones should be regulated, how voting assistance should be provided for U.S. citizens overseas and so on,” Eilperin reported. “There’s a problem, however: Technically speaking, these and about 1,800 other regulations shouldn’t be in effect, because they weren’t reported to Congress as required.”
In fact, according to Eiliperin’s report, Robert Cramer of the Government Accountability Office explained Obama’s failure to report the regulations to Congress is a “technical violation” of a 1996 statute and said, “The law says they can’t take effect.”
Nonetheless, they have.
“Since 2012, this administration has simply implemented nearly 2,000 regulations they didn’t report to anybody except the enforcement agencies. Two thousand!” Limbaugh exclaimed. “President Obama has just created 2,000 laws without Congress and without telling Congress. High crimes and misdemeanors!
“He’s acting outside the authority granted him by the Constitution over and over and over again, and yet, Republicans say his behavior has not risen to the level of ‘high crimes and misdemeanors,’” Limbaugh continued. “They’re just bending over every which way possible to try to convince people that they don’t hate Obama.”
Listen to the audio of Limbaugh’s statements below:
The day previous, on his Wednesday program, Limbaugh argued many people misunderstand what it takes to justify impeaching a president: "'High crimes and misdemeanors' does not mean theft, larceny, murder, any of that. 'High crimes and misdemeanors' means dereliction of duty! 'High crimes and misdemeanors' means action outside the Constitution. 'High crimes and misdemeanors' means action detrimental to the country in violation of the oath of office. It's an entirely different thing than a criminal definition."
"Another member of Congress said, 'No, no, no, we're not going to impeach Obama. What he's done doesn't even rise to the level of high crimes and misdemeanors.' And it does. It specifically does," Limbaugh continued on Thursday. "'High crimes and misdemeanors' is a phrase that the founders borrowed from the ancient Brits, but it has a specific meaning and it can't mean murder and all that because those are not misdemeanors. … This is where you have to go look at original intent. 'High crimes and misdemeanors' simply says, all it means is, has somebody gotten to the point where we can't trust them with the power that the Constitution gives them? That's the root of it.
"There are specifics to high crimes and misdemeanors," Limbaugh concluded, "and Obama has engaged in them."
According to Eilperin's article, Curtis Copeland, a retired Congressional Research Service staffer, discovered the 1,800 unreported regulations after conducting a study of the more than 9,000 rules issued by Obama's executive branch since the start of 2012.
The 1996 Congressional Review Act – which stemmed from the Republican Party's "Contract with America" – requires most federal rules to be reported to the House and Senate in paper form and the Government Accountability Office electronically.
Former Sen. Don Nickles, R-Okla., one of the law's original sponsors, told the Post the statute helps lawmakers hold hearings and use other tactics to influence regulations before they take effect. During Bill Clinton's administration, Congress even overturned one of the president's directives. Major rules, Eilperin reported, are not supposed to go into force until 60 days after they are reported to Congress or published in the Federal Register, whichever is later.
When informed about the hundreds of missing rules, Nickles told the Post, "It sounds like they're breaking the law."
Eilperin further reported of the 1,800 unreported regulations, 43 have been deemed "significant" by the Office of Management and Budget, and six of those count as major. Three rules published in early 2013 carried out the Pentagon's sexual-assault prevention and response program; one was estimated to cost nearly $15 billion to implement.