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The Power of Subpoena | The Nation

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The Notion

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The Power of Subpoena

Investigate, investigate, investigate. That's one of key tools given to Democrats since they won back the Congress. And thus far they are using it to impressive effect.

Because of slim majorities, internal discord and Presidential Bush's veto pen, Democrats are unlikely to pass many major pieces of legislation in the next two years. But they can sure make the Bush Administration's life unpleasant. To paraphrase Jesse Jackson, they can keep scandals alive. From Walter Reed to pre-war fabrications to global warming to less glamorous subjects, like the FCC and FDA, the new Congress is performing much-needed oversight.

Just take one recent example: Attorneygate. The firing of eight US attorneys would have flown under the radar of the last Congress. Democrats could have protested publicly---but done little else. Now it's yet another scandal that threatens to topple Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and possibly other top Administration officials. Thanks to the power of subpoena, we can expect to see more explosive testimony on Capitol Hill.

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