Why will Karl Rove and former White House Counsel Harriet Miers not be under oath when they testify before Congress? That's a question raised by Alabama attorney and GOP whistleblower Jill Simpson. And we think she has a darned good point.
Brad Friedman reports at BradBlog that Rove and Miers will not be under oath when they testify before Congress about the U.S. attorney firings and the prosecution of former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman.
A source with the House Judiciary Committee tells Friedman that 18 U.S. Code 1001 makes it a crime to lie to Congress, whether there is an oath administered or not. Therefore, the source says, an oath is not necessary. It's a "non-issue," the source says.
That might be true technically, but it raises this question: If it's no biggie, why not administer an oath? Rove and Miers shouldn't mind, should they?
It also raises this question: If oaths are no big deal in Congress, why was Simpson under oath when she testified about the Siegelman case before the House Judiciary Committee in fall 2007?
Simpson raises that point, and others, in the following statement regarding testimony from Rove and Miers:
BradBlog has now broken the story that they will not have to take an oath to tell the truth. I find this most interesting that Congress would ask me to take an oath but will not ask either of these two people to take an oath.
After all, these two avoided a lawful congressional subpoena; you would think Congress would demand they take the oath to tell the truth. Instead Congress is claiming if they lie they can be charged with perjury, so no oath is necessary. Isn't that charming?
However, it is always a precaution to advise a person before they testify that they are swearing to tell the truth, so my question is: Why would Congress take the step to say they are not going to require these two folks to take an oath which would show they knew that what they said could have ramifications such as perjury? Are they above the rule of law? Does Congress apply different rules for people like me and you than people like Rove and Miers.
Why would Congress give them a possible out to say they were not advised properly? Further, why would they not want to take the oath to tell the truth before God if they were going to face perjury charges if they lied anyway? After all, what would it hurt?
If you were telling the truth, would you mind taking an oath? My question is also why would Congress ever want to take their testimony without them taking an oath to tell the truth? Yesterday, headlines were all over the Internet that suggested they had reached an agreement to testify and would face penalities of perjury. But not one single paper said that President Bush's lawyer, who was once partners with Mr Obama's lawyer, had agreed to allow Harriet Miers and Karl Rove to testify without taking an oath to tell the truth. I wonder what their next spin will be out of Williams & Connolly.
They have used smoke and mirrors on the press all over the United States and are probably laughing now. But this is not a funny matter. I had to testify under oath to tell the truth, and Mr Rove and Mrs Miers should have to do the same.
Otherwise we have become a country that does not treat people equally before Congress. That is a sad day in America, and today is that day.
I am asking (concerned citizens) to call (John) Conyers and ask his office why Karl Rove and Harriet Miers do not have to take an oath to tell the truth. Tell them you want them to take an oath.