CONGRESS HAS AN ADDICTION TO KOCH
FLINT WATER HEARINGS: NO OVERSIGHT, NO CRIME, NO FOUL
On Monday it was confirmed that Gov. Rick Snyder will not be called to testify before the Congressional Government Oversight and Government Reform Committee as once believed. The hearings are scheduled to begin Wednesday, February 3, 2016. House Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R) UT, will act as Chairman.
In addition, the witness list released contained only five names, Governor Snyder excluded. There will be testimony from MI DEQ and Federal EPA Region 5 for which that Director resigned and Flint’s EM, Darnell Earley. There exists a real concern that the findings will not be conclusive or just.
Rep. Jason Chaffetz, Chairman (R) UT
WDIV Detroit announced Tuesday morning that Darnell Earley* will not testify. No reason was given. The witnesses were “called upon” to testify but legally they are not compelled to appear since subpoenas were not served.
The stated purpose of the Committee is to “investigate the role of the EPA” in the matter of the toxic water, lead poisoning of all children as a result of the change in water source to the Flint river.
It is noted that the purpose and focus of Chairman Rep Jason Chaffetz, will be to find cause as to the incompetence or negligence of the EPA in the effort to further discrediting the Agency for its’ failure. This is Rep. J. Chaffetz** "mission" to reduce the size and scope, if not eliminate the EPA. He would very much find the EPA as unnecessary and wasteful government oversight.
The failure of the EPA and MI DEQ to communicate, clarify and follow detailed and precise precautions will be used as evidence that “government on federal, state and local levels” are counterproductive and prone to misjudgment, miscommunication and in this case resulting in a travesty.
The Committee findings will be predictable as Rep. J. Chaffetz will guide testimony, evidence and stir the investigation away from the State’s Executive Branch and focus on specific targets within the EPA and DEQ.
Rep. J. Chaffetz as chairman will without hesitation disallow any member’s question as to the role of Michigan Governor Rick Snyder in the plan for Flint change in water resource, his knowledge of the serious nature of the problem, the timing and certainly any culpability if and when any criminal charges are forthcoming. The Republican led and dominated committee will expedite this matter as soon as they can in order to put any cloud of suspicion, blame or indictment of the Governor as far to the back as possible. What is likely to emerge is a recommendation that the prosecution of any alleged crimes committed in Flint, MI is not within jurisdiction.
Chaffetz will further recommend that any prosecution be brought upon the EPA and the State of MI, Department of Environmental Quality employees and exonerate the Emergency Manager as not accountable. He will no doubt summarize this travesty as an issue of State negligence and malfeasance. Those State of Michigan employees entrusted with the Public Health and Safety in the City of Flint. Since the EPA Region Director has already resigned that post, there is little or no further action within the EPA expected.
Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette has cleverly made a pre-emptive move. In a press release, as the State Attorney General his duty is limited to defend the Governor. He does not have authority to represent State employees in litigation. This is to say that the DEQ employees following directives of their superior will be held accountable. The State employer will not have their backs.
What occurs to me now is that if Executives throughout State Government are able to side step their accountability, then how can it go further up to the office of the Governor. It is sly and often cruel ploy of Republicans who owe their allegiance to a libertarian view. In other words, “save your own ass” and at the same time that of an unscrupulous Governor.
This statute has been in place for as long as I can recall. This means that members composing the Executive staff across the board, each Department may give verbal orders to those who report to them. In other words, no matter if their mandate skirts the edge of the law or compromises the responsibility of the individual employee, it is they who will bear the brunt of any action even if against the law.
Unfortunately, this has become over the past twenty years the best practice of upper management in every department. What is key is the use of “verbal” directives rather than leave a paper trail back to the Executive. In fact, many times the top Executive within a department will direct first line managers to “write” the procedures and practices for employees to follow. In this way, if the worst scenario is to occur it will be first line managers who will be thrown under the bus, or in this case “swim with fishes of the Flint River.”
By adhering to a carefully crafted and orchestrated hearing, the Committee will misdirect Congress and the People as to the truth of the matter. The chairman will be following his mandate first elected and manipulated to perform the role of representing his true constituency which are not the citizens of Utah, but to private interests too large to ignore.
It may be speculative and slightly short of the documentation hidden under the cover of tax exempt non-profit organizations, think tanks and opposition environment groups that Rep Chaffetz and his cohorts are acting as willing or unwilling brainwashed agents of the largest influences of multi-corporations. Or, he and others have fallen to an addiction to a convoluted libertarian philosophy of A Koch-oil-ism.
Keep in mind when you think of the Flint River,
“You can lead a horse to water, but a pencil must be lead.”
* My opinion is that Emergency Manager Darnell Earley came to a decision that to volunteer testimony would only harm himself and the higher authority that appointed him. If he did appear, he would need to plead the 5th Amendment to questioning. So why bother? It would cast him in a more negative light. There is additional information that Mr. Earley will leave his current post as EM over Detroit Public Schools effective February 29th.
** The Hon. Chairman, Rep Chaffetz, in his own words in the Bio provided on his website points in this direction. If you compare his philosophy to that of Koch Bros, they are right in step.