Aquarter century ago as Whitewater prosecutors closed in on evidence that Bill and Hillary Clinton both gave factually inaccurate testimony, the then-first lady unleashed a blistering attack that stunned a capital city that in those days was far less rancorous.
Mrs. Clinton called the Whitewater probe “an effort to undo the results of two elections,” claiming it was run by a “politically motivated prosecutor who is allied with the right-wing opponents of my husband.”
Prosecutors have been “looking at every telephone call we’ve made, every check we’ve ever written, scratching for dirt, intimidating witnesses, doing everything possible to try to make some kind of accusation against my husband,” she declared in that 1998 interview with NBC’s “Today” show.
Politics is getting in the way of government transparency, preventing the sort of accountability on which our governing institutions depend for maintaining public trust and legitimacy.
In Wisconsin and elsewhere around the country, public officials are steadfastly refusing to answer basic questions about their official conduct from the people’s elected representatives. These are not salacious questions about their personal conduct, or fishing expeditions designed to stir up political scandal. Legislators are merely seeking to better understand how appointed bureaucrats and elected officials administered the 2020 elections amidst a pandemic and an unprecedented, and in many cases unlawful, infusion of private monies into public election offices.
Pennsylvania’s Attorney General, for instance, has sued to block a legislative subpoena seeking voter information as part of an investigation of the state’s voter registration system, known as SURE. Even though there is ample precedent for disclosing this type of information, the AG’s lawsuit argues that it would violate citizens’ right to privacy, as though allowing lawmakers to access government records would automatically compromise the security of that information.