Thursday, August 21, 2014

GAO Puts a Hitch in Obama's "git along" Over Legality of Bowe Bergdahl Prisoner Swap

by Robert Janicki
I can imagine Obama fuming over this latest rebuff to his "I have a pen and phone" style of administrative tyranny.  What I'm not certain of is whether it will have practical application that will result in anything more than a footnote in the history of the most corrupt administration in American history.  In all likelihood the GAO may not have any responsibility other than the reporting of the illegality of the action by Obama and his henchmen  In the end it may be all about politics and a lot less about the law.

from NRO
"President Obama violated a “clear and unambiguous” law when he released five Guantanamo Bay detainees in exchange for Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, the Government Accountability Office reported Thursday.
[The Department of Defense] violated section 8111 because it did not notify the relevant congressional committees at least 30 days in advance of the transfer,” the GAO report said. “In addition, because DOD used appropriated funds to carry out the transfer when no money was available for that purpose, DOD violated the Antideficiency Act. The Antideficiency Act prohibits federal agencies from incurring obligations exceeding an amount available in an appropriation.”
Our marvelously inept and incompetent Secretary of Defense was complicit in this illegal act, but then again why would anyone expect Chuck Hagel to step up and object to Obama's plan.  I'd really be surprised if Hagel can walk and chew gun at the same time.  Hagel was the shame of Nebraska as one of its Senators for two terms with an absolutely meaningless and unproductive career as a Senator.  He had very little in the way of authoring any legislation, let alone anything of consequence.

It's obvious from the following that the Obama administration was leaning on the GAO to acknowledge that the ruling law in question was to be viewed as unconstitutional so as to provide cover for Obama.  However, that would have been a bridge too far to cross for the GAO, since they are not a court, but rather an administrative oversight agency with questionable powers to enforce any of their findings of wrong doing.
"The GAO rejected the idea that the action was legal and sidestepped the Obama team’s suggestion that the law is unconstitutional.
“It is not our role or our practice to determine the constitutionality of duly enacted statutes,” the report says. “In our view, where legislation has been passed by Congress and signed by the President, thereby satisfying the bicameralism and presentment requirements in the Constitution, that legislation is entitled to a heavy presumption in favor of constitutionality.”