Wes Vernon
Grassley pulls a "gotcha" on the liars
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By Wes Vernon
November 5, 2018

My first memory of Chuck Grassley was when he (along with two of his colleagues) showed up in Billings, Montana, as a young congressman to promote a GOP candidate's (ultimately successful) bid for a congressional seat. Little did I know that decades later, this "young pup" from Iowa would return as a tough old boy (now 85) as a Senate committee chairman who tracks down purveyors of untruths. (You know, the kind of non-truth tellers who have emerged in 2018 who seem to assume that anything – even lying to Congress – is a fun sport as long as it serves the purpose of ruining the reputation for life of an honorable jurist such as [now Supreme Court Justice] Brett Kavanaugh, to cite just one example.)

Oh well, that's life, right?

A pile-on mentality that posits that you can just go ahead and mislead Congress as long as you've got some good smear paint is accepted by political cynics. That ploy does not work well with the straight arrows on the Hill, one of whom is tough old boy Grassley.

Writer Randy De Soto writes that Chairman Grassley recalls the days when malefactors of prevarication before Congress were held to account. Justice Kavanaugh, having been approved by Grassley's committee and then by the Senate following a bitter fight, deserves vindication through holding to account those who misled Congress. The instigators of unjust opposition came from the left, which wants a Supreme Court that acts as a super legislature, rather than an interpretive body as intended by the Constitution.

So justice Kavanaugh is safely confirmed on the High Court for life, giving conservatives a solid 5-4 majority. But Chairman Grassley believes not all issues in the fight have been satisfactorily settled. He has fired off a letter to the Justice Department and the FBI charging that "While many of those individuals [testifying before the Iowa senator's panel that heard and approved the Kavanaugh nomination] have provided the Committee information in good faith, it unfortunately appears some have not."

The overriding problem

The truth has been given such short shrift lately on Capitol Hill that few have been able to pierce the dissemblance. That was painfully evident during the multiple uncorroborated allegations during the Kavanaugh hearings. Obviously-made-up smears came through in such rapid-fire fashion that the mere pace of the charges made it all the more difficult to counter them in a timely fashion. And by the time they were discredited, the character assassins had gone on to something else.

Nominee makes it, but does that end the drama?

Justice Kavanaugh and his supporters were able to pierce through and discredit the mountain of unverified smears. If one assumes the "all's well that ends well" mantra now makes "L'affaire Kavanaugh" a dead issue, that still means that those accusers win half the fight, with unfortunate ramifications for the future. Though the man is on the Supreme Court for life, untruths hurled at him may still serve their intended purpose of trying to discredit his work on consequential matters the court will deal with in the future. The late Justice Hugo Black (an FDR appointee) survived for decades on the court despite his connections to the Ku Klux Klan even though the allegations against him were true. Charges against Kavanaugh – including sexual misconduct in his younger years, et al. – remain uncorroborated and effectively discredited with "witnesses" unable to substantiate charges that flunked the laugh test.

Enter Chairman Grassley

True to form, Senator Grassley, whose committee held the hearings on the Kavanaugh nomination, will not stand by and allow what he sees as hit and run "witnesses" fade into the woodwork after their allegations are not backed up...

"While many of those individuals [who] provided...information [to the Committee did so] in good faith" – the Iowa lawmaker wrote in his letter to the Justice Department and the FBI – "unfortunately some have not [done so]." He cited two witnesses who he said had submitted to his committee false information in an attempt to discredit nominee Kavanaugh. Submitting false information to Congress is no small matter. People have gone to prison for that.

Fighting back

Senator Grassley has referred one Judy Munro-Leighton "for investigation of potential violations...for [providing] materially false statements and obstruction" of the committee's investigation regarding Kavanaugh. A second letter submitted to the committee by Democrat member Kamala Harris was signed under the alias of Jane Doe from Oceanside, CA. It includes a rape allegation not backed up by any relevant information.

The veteran Iowa lawmaker is determined that people who submit uncorroborated allegations against nominees should be required to back up their charges or be held to account for their failure to present credible evidence. If that means they will face charges of submitting false information to Congress, so be it. Senator Charles Grassley won't let go. He wants the prevaricators to be exposed. Otherwise, congressional credibility itself, long the butt of comedians' jokes, will sink to an even lower level, to the disadvantage of the American people.

© Wes Vernon

 

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