On Friday during a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing discussing the subpoena of a top presidential adviser from Committee chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA), Democratic District of Columbia delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton stated that “You don’t have a right to know everything in a separation-of-powers government.”
Norton made the comment while discussing the White House claiming immunity in response to a subpoena of presidential assistant and Office of Political Strategy and Outreach director David Simas.
Simas was subpoenaed by Issa to provide testimony to ensure that the Office of Political Strategy and Outreach is complying with law. Issa admitted there were no specific accusations of wrongdoing from Simas or the Office of Political Strategy and Outreach, but nevertheless compelled Simas to testify because of past history of misbehavior from the Office.
After the White House refused to comply with the subpoena, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee voted to reject the claim of immunity. Norton appeared to disagree with the vote and repeatedly called Issa’s subpoena a “showcase fishing expedition.”
“The president’s immediate adviser is not an agency and this is not a matter of policy,” she said.
“You don’t have a right to know everything in a separation-of-powers government, my friend. That is the difference between a parliamentary government and a separation-of-powers government,” Norton continued.
Oversight Committee member Elijah Cummings (D-MD) apparently agreed with Norton, saying “I associate myself with your comments.” Cummings is also critical of the repeated subpoenas of IRS Commissioner John Koskinen regarding former IRS official Lois Lerner’s lost emails and possibly destroyed hard drive.