On July 10, the U.S. House Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing to investigate the firings of nine U.S. Attorneys in 2006 and the questionable prosecution and imprisonment of former Alabama governor Don Siegelman. Karl Rove, a potentially key figure in both incidents, has been issued a subpoena to testify before the committee. Rove’s lawyer has said that Rove will not appear.
Congress has a few options here. First, if Rove fails to appear, they could pass criminal contempt charges against him, as they did against White House chief of staff Josh Bolten and former White House counsel Harriet Miers. This is good, but will not result in immediate testimony.
The second option is to have Karl Rove arrested, under the theory of inherent contempt, and brought to Congress to testify. This is better, but may still be eventually unsatisfying if Rove ends up testifying yet asserts executive privilege repeatedly in order to avoid disclosing important information.
Another option – and the one supported by the American Freedom Campaign Action Fund – is to tell the president immediately that he will be impeached if members of his administration do not provide full testimony before Congress by a date certain in July. This has historical precedent as one of the three articles of impeachment ultimately brought against President Richard Nixon was based on his refusal to comply with congressional subpoenas.
The final option is to do nothing and set a precedent for the future by which any administration can claim that Congress does not have the ability to force executive branch officials to testify before Congress. This would be an affront to our Constitution and Congress is dancing perilously close to this line already.
We cannot allow Congress to become subservient to the executive branch. It must exert its oversight authority and force administration officials to testify. Please tell your U.S. representative to take whatever steps are necessary to compel testimony by filling in the information below and clicking on "Send my message.”