The White House responded to recent oversight requests from House Republicans on Thursday by stating that those requests would have to be resubmitted.
In two letters obtained exclusively by Politico, White House Special Counsel Richard Sauber reportedly vowed to act in good faith when responding to requests from incoming House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer (R-Ky.) and incoming House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan (R-Ohio).
However, Sauber also stressed that the congressmen will not have the constitutional authority to make such requests until they assume their leadership positions on Jan. 3, when the Republican Party is set to acquire control of the House of Representatives.
“Congress has not delegated such [oversight] authority to individual members of Congress who are not committee chairmen, and the House has not done so under its current Rules,” Sauber wrote, according to Politico, but did not rule out compliance with future requests after Jan. 3.
Thursday, in a series of tweets, the House Judiciary Committee responded to Politico’s report by noting that it had only just received the White House’s letter that morning at 4:34 a.m.—less than a half hour before the story was published—indicating that the White House had likely briefed Politico on the story prior to sending the letter.
Adding that Politico had only asked for comment on the letter after publishing the story, the committee also slammed the White House’s claims of good faith, noting that the coordination between the Biden administration and the media to “politically obstruct legitimate constitutional oversight” contradicted those claims.
Additionally, the committee called out Politico for an apparent double standard, noting the outlet’s more “favorable” coverage of House Democrats in 2018 “when they did the exact same thing as us.”
“The White House and media are already playing games,” the committee’s statement concluded. “This is why it’s so important for us to hit the ground running on January 3rd. Get ready.”
Echoing those sentiments in a statement provided to The Epoch Times, Comer said, “President Biden promised to have the most transparent administration in history, but at every turn, the Biden White House seeks to obstruct congressional oversight and hide information from the American people.”
The White House, Comer added, had failed to provide answers on the border crisis, energy crisis, Afghanistan withdrawal, origins of COVID, and the Biden family’s alleged influence peddling.
“Why is the Biden Administration hiding this information?” the congressman continued. “Republicans are undeterred by the Biden Administration’s obstruction and will continue pressing for the answers, transparency, and accountability that the American people deserve.”
In a Nov. 18 letter (pdf) to White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain, Jordan and other members of the House Judiciary Committee referenced previous records requests they had sent the Biden administration, noting that they had all gone unanswered.
“Over the past twenty-one months, we have made several requests for information and documents concerning the Biden Administration’s misuse of federal criminal and counterterrorism resources to target concerned parents at school board meetings,” the congressmen noted. “We reiterated and itemized these requests in our recent letter of October 17, 2022, which is enclosed for your convenience. To date, you have ignored these requests.”
Adding that the committee “may be forced to resort to compulsory process” to obtain the requested materials if those requests remained outstanding by the start of the new Congress, the congressmen also identified four employees of the Executive Office of the President they would be requiring testimony from, including Mary C. Wall, senior advisor on the COVID-19 Response Team, and Julie C. Rodriguez, director of the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs.
In the referenced Oct. 17 letter, the Republican Judiciary Committee members noted that Attorney General Merrick Garland’s 2021 directive to the FBI and U.S. attorney’s offices to address the “criminal conduct” of parents at school board meetings was still in effect.
Prior to that directive, the National School Boards Association had written a letter to President Joe Biden requesting federal assistance with handling the increase in disruptions at school board meetings around the country, characterizing those disruptions as “a form of domestic terrorism and hate crime.”
“Parents voicing their concerns at school board meetings are not domestic terrorists,” the Republican congressmen wrote on Oct. 17. “Yet, the Attorney General’s anti-parent directive of October 4, 2021, remains in effect, and as a result, the threat of federal law enforcement continues to chill the First Amendment rights of American parents.”
Comer and Jordan have been forthright about their intentions to investigate the actions of not only the Biden administration but also the Biden family, including the president himself.
In November, Comer announced the Oversight Committee’s plans to investigate the president and his potential participation in his family member’s foreign business dealings.
“This committee will evaluate the status of Joe Biden’s relationship with his family’s foreign partners, and whether he is a president who is compromised or swayed by foreign dollars and influence,” Comer said at a Nov. 17 press conference.
Earlier this month, in an interview with NTD’s “Newsmakers,” Jordan emphasized the need for such an investigation, noting that the president’s son, Hunter, and brother, Jim, had a total of 150 Suspicious Activity Reports filed against them, of which only two are publicly available.
Suspicious Activity Reports are filed by financial institutions with the U.S. Treasury Department when those institutions notice abnormal transfers of funds between individuals or accounts.
“These are actual reports that financial institutions file with the Treasury Department when they see suspicious activity,” Jordan explained. “Typically, it’s money laundering type of activity.”
Other topics the House Republicans have targeted for investigation include the origins of COVID-19 and the associated research performed at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, alleged social media censorship efforts of the Department of Justice and FBI, and the southern border crisis.