Dick’s Defeat

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Might Dick Cheney’s days of stonewalling be coming to an end? Might the Wyoming oilman-turned-Halliburton boss-turned-Vice President finally be foreced to admit how deeply he let his buddies in the energy industry influence the findings of his 2000 federal energy policy task force?

Maybe. Maybe not. And maybe it doesn’t really matter.

Last week, those who hope that Cheeny’s day of reckoning is approaching were given reason to celebrate as a federal appeals court rejected the Bush administration’s latest attempt to evade a federal judge’s order calling for the disclosure of records related to the task force. That order, handed down by U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan, would clear the way for two groups — Judicial Watch and The Sierra Club — to get information on who Cheney met with while developing his energy plan.

The administration now has two choices — honor the 2002 ruling and turn over the documents or take the matter to the Supreme Court. Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton told The Washignton Post that he hopes Cheney will finally come clean.

    “‘The vice president has been told by multiple courts that he is not above the law,’ Fitton said. ‘Perhaps now he will give up his legal stonewalling and begin complying with court orders to turn over his secret energy task force documents.'”

Of course, while the fight over how Cheney developed his plan is being slowly resolved in the courts, many of the policies he proposed are close to becoming law. With both the House and Senate having passed some version of an energy bill, Republican leaders have declared that they intend to push a GOP energy plan through to the president’s desk with or without the cooperation of their Democratic counterparts. As Bill Wicker, a spokesman for Democrats on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, told The New York Times, “It is an optical illusion that Democrats are involved.”

    “‘To this point, they have not sought involvement of Democrats at all,’ said Representative Henry A. Waxman, Democrat of California and a member of the conference committee that is supposed to reconcile the House and Senate energy bills. ‘The Republicans are talking among themselves.'”

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