Barrett wants the report released in full. The reports of every other Independent Counsel have been released to the public in full, with only minor redactions where classified material might be revealed. There is a serious public-policy concern for releasing this report. It is the first independent investigation of the IRS by investigators armed with subpoena power. Civil libertarians concerned about the heavy-handedness of the IRS and its use as an instrument of political repression by the executive branch of the government know that this is very important.
Dorgan has led the campaign to deny the report's contents to the public. Last April he attempted to end Barrett's funding. He was thwarted then, but more recently he tried a new ploy. With Democratic Sens. Richard Durbin and John Kerry, he bootlegged into an Iraq-war appropriations bill an amendment that would suppress the report completely. Some Republicans defeated this attempt, but Dorgan and his allies are clever. Into a later appropriations bill they got language that would suppress 120 pages of the report relating to Clinton Justice Department and IRS misbehavior. If the butchered report were published in this shape, they promised to do nothing further to delay its appearance. Amazingly key Republicans in these negotiations agreed, Sen. Kit Bond and Rep. Joe Knollenberg. As things stand now, the expurgated report will appear and the public will be none the wiser as to how the IRS and Justice Department can be used to obstruct justice and harass private citizens.
Corrupt administrations in the future will have a free hand at playing politics the way they are played in a banana republic, or 20th-century Arkansas.
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