Again last week, we saw the arrogance of former White House advisor Karl Rove when an empty chair sat for him in front of the House Judiciary subcommittee where he was required by subpoena to testify. Not only did he refuse to appear before the committee -- let alone testify -- but he defiantly left the country thereby blatantly ignoring his obligations under the congressional subpoena served on him. When he did return to the country, Rove found the time to gab with TV reporters on a summer press tour in Beverly Hills, but failed to stop by the Judiciary Committee in Washington.
After my ruling that Mr. Rove's claims of immunity are not legally valid, Congressman Conyers and I gave him one last chance to comply with the law. He ignored us. As he let yet another deadline slip by this week, Mr. Rove's disregard for Congress has become intolerable. Mr. Rove needs to understand that he is not above the law and should obey a subpoena just like any other American is required to do.
Mr. Rove should not be able to hide behind the president to avoid the American public. Americans are fed up with this administration flouting the law. They expect Congress to hold people accountable and that is exactly what we intend to do. Letting Mr. Rove get away with this would set a dangerous precedent. I have recommended that we hold Mr. Rove in contempt of Congress. If we need to revive the inherent contempt procedure which gives Congress the authority to arrest those who defy Congressional subpoenas, then so be it.
The courts have made clear that no one, not even the president, is immune from compulsory process. Any person who scoffs at the law and who has committed an offense that is punishable by jail time should be put in jail. This includes Karl Rove.
Congresswoman Linda T. Sánchez is the Chairwoman of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Commercial and Administrative Law. She represents the 39th Congressional District of California.
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