Those familiar with the investigations caution against "playing connect-the-dots" with these three distinct cases. However, some informed Republican sources are beginning to call attention to other evidence of a concerted effort to blindfold, muzzle or neuter watchdogs -- especially those who dare to growl at Democrats.
Why, for instance, did Rep. John Larson (D-Conn.) rush through the House a bill that would give President Obama power to hire or dismiss five inspectors general -- including the IG for the Securities and Exchange Commission -- who under existing law report to the agency heads?
The IGs themselves have protested against the Larson bill, which has yet to be debated in the Senate, and it has not escaped notice on Capitol Hill that Larson is a prominent "Friend of Chris." That would be Sen. Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.), chairman of the Senate Banking Committee. Dodd is under intense scrutiny for a number of shady-looking activities -- "Chris Dodd Update" has become a regular feature at Professor Glenn Reynolds' popular Instapundit blog -- and Dodd is also facing a tough re-election bid next year.
No one on the Hill has yet directly suggested that the Larson bill -- which could effectively muzzle watchdogs at five federal financial agencies -- was specifically intended as assistance to the embattled chairman of the Senate Banking Committee. But as liberal bloggers used to say about the Bush administration's activities, some Republicans have begun to "question the timing." . . .
I'm very grateful to those loyal readers who have helped fund my trips to Capitol Hill by hitting the tip jar. There are some things that can be accomplished only by the skilled application of shoe leather, such as accidently walking into the wrong office -- but there are no accidents.
By the way, something I omitted from the "citizen-journalist" account of my Friday trip. After I missed my lunch appointment because of the Tourist Drivers Damned to the Fiery Pit of Hell, I found myself with time to kill because the next person I was supposed to meet was (of course) caught in tourist-infested traffic. Noticing the grody condition of my shoes, and observing the nearby location of a shoeshine stand, I decided to indulge myself: $7 for a shoeshine while I read the newspaper and tried to relax.
The cheerful gentleman did such a thoroughly professional job that when he was done, I handed him $10 and said, "Keep the change." A foolish indulgence. Little did I suspect, however, that a few minutes earlier, a homeschooling mom had hit my tip jar with . . . $10.
Coincidence? Right. Somebody ask The Anchoress who she was linking Sept. 24, and why.
PREVIOUSLY AT THE SPECTATOR:
- July 17: Amtrak IG: Important Background
- July 14: IG-Gate: Sincere Doubts
- July 14: The Little Scandal That Could
- July 9: Democrats Question AmeriCorps Official's Stonewall on IG Case
- July 1: Malkin on IG-Gate: Does the Endangered Species Act IncludeWatchdogs?
- June 26: Grassley: Amtrak 'Systematically Violated' IG Law
- June 25: Eleanor Acheson: Lobbyist
- June 25: Obama Plays Hardball With Watchdogs
- June 23: Amtrak IG Probe: Who Is Eleanor Acheson?
- June 19: IG-Gate: Domino Theory
- June 18: AmeriCorps Scandal Won't Go Away Soon