Say Anything

by Morgan W.

So, you can’t lie to Congress, right? It’s, like, a big deal? Well, it depends on who you are.

For a little background, lying to congress is illegal according to statutes 18 U.S.C. §1621 (perjury) and 18 U.S.C. §1001 (false representations before Congress.) The Justice Department generally doesn’t investigate lies before Congress unless their services are requested by legislators. But that makes sense, right? People don’t appreciate being lied to and it’s a waste of time if Congressional hearings become a joke, so Congress probably has an interest in their institutional integrity, right?

Kind of.

After Hillary Clinton testified about her emails in 2015, Congressmen Jason Chaffetz and Bob Goodlatte authored an official letter, requesting that the Justice Department launch an investigation into whether she could be prosecuted for inconsistencies in her answers. Although FBI Director James Comey eventually determined there was no willful deceit, we all know how that prolonged inquiry turned out for Hillary.

James Clapper, by all accounts, gave false testimony to Congress in 2013 regarding CIA surveillance of private American citizens. Nine Republican senators asked that he be investigated. Then Attorney General, Eric Holder, declined.

Read more about Clinton and Clapper here.

Recently, Attorney General Jeff Sessions lied to Congress during his confirmation hearings. About Russia, of all things. Thus far, there’s been radio silence from apparent Guardians of Truthful Testimony, Chaffetz and Goodlatte. No formal letter requesting an investigation by the DOJ, which Sessions himself continues to be in charge of at his cabinet post. Could be awkward to direct an investigation of yourself, I guess.

But Jeff Sessions wasn’t the only cabinet appointee to lie in confirmation hearings. At least four others did. Luckily, they’ve all been fined and sentenced to jail time. Just kidding. Exactly zero have faced any issues at all and were confirmed without incident.

 

Betsy DeVos denied being involved with her family’s foundation, which donates hefty sums to anti LGBTQ+ groups:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/grade-point/wp/2017/01/18/betsy-devoss-13-year-clerical-error/?utm_term=.535b6e83b194

 

Steve Mnuchin lied about his company’s unethical foreclosure processes:

http://www.dispatch.com/news/20170129/trump-treasury-pick-mnuchin-misled-senate-on-foreclosures-ohio-cases-show

 

Tom Price lied about insider trading:

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2017/1/30/1627549/-Tom-Price-lied-to-the-Senate-about-the-sweetheart-deal-he-got-on-medical-stocks

 

and Scott Pruitt claimed he never used a private email account (sound familiar?) as Oklahoma Attorney General:

http://okcfox.com/news/fox-25-investigates/ags-office-confirms-pruitt-used-private-email-for-state-business

 

In an age of alternative facts and conspiracy tweets from atop Mar-a-Lago gold toilets, does this matter? Breaking news: Hillary was treated unfairly and this administration are a bunch of liars, right? Yes, but Republican Congress members should probably at least attempt to appear to care when they’re lied to by their own party. I propose they at least treat lies to secure cabinet positions the way I handle my five year old lying about sneaking sweets: Call them out, take their illegally-obtained cookie away, and tell them to get the heck out of the room before the punishment gets worse.