Dana Milbank, ever ready to pull his punches against Republicans, opens his WaPo article on the failures of Congress to open ethics investigations as follows:
After a series of embarrassing disclosures, Congress is reconsidering its relatively lenient oversight of the Bush administration.
"Relatively lenient"? How about "effectively absent":
Specifically, Democrats list 14 areas where the GOP majority has "failed to investigate" the administration, including the role of senior officials in the abuse of detainees; leaking the identity of CIA operative Valerie Plame; the role of Vice President Cheney's office in awarding contracts to Cheney's former employer, Halliburton; the White House's withholding from Congress the cost of a Medicare prescription drug plan; the administration's relationship with Iraqi politician Ahmed Chalabi; and the influence of corporate interests on energy policy, environmental regulation and tobacco policy.
Meanwhile, the House ethics committee has not opened a new case or launched an investigation in the past 12 months, despite outside investigations involving, among others, Cunningham and former lobbyist Jack Abramoff.
And how does all this compare to ethics investigations into the Clinton administration?
Democrats on the committee said the panel issued 1,052 subpoenas to probe alleged misconduct by the Clinton administration and the Democratic Party between 1997 and 2002, at a cost of more than $35 million. By contrast, the committee under Davis has issued three subpoenas to the Bush administration, two to the Energy Department over nuclear waste disposal at Yucca Mountain, and one last week to the Defense Department over Katrina documents.
Yeah, that's "relatively lenient", all right.