Three state legislatures — California, Illinois and Vermont — have discovered a little known and never utlitized rule of the US House of Representatives, Section 603 of Jefferson’s Manual of the Rules of the United States House of Representatives, which allows federal impeachment proceedings to be initiated by joint resolution of a state legislature. (thanks IanC!)
The move, which is being spearheaded by Democratic 527 group ImpeachPAC, shows potential in bringing serious charges against the Bush Administration, including felony treason, during a time when approval polls are at their lowest. However, it seems the idea may only be symbolic in nature, as a GOP-controlled U.S. Congress can easily squash the state-sponsored bills.
The debate rages on though, with several questions arising out of the legality of activities on several fronts including: domestic wiretapping; authorization of torture and rendition; misrepresentaton of Iraq intelligence; and the leaking of a covert CIA agent’s identity. Clearly, even if impeachment isn’t on the GOP’s table, they have a lot of ‘splainin’ to do if they want to shove things under the rug.
Even old Watergate investigative reporter Carl Bernstein is raising the alarm for at least an investigation into alleged crimes committed by the Bush administration in, where he says:
In terms of imminent, meaningful action by the Congress, however, the question of whether the president should be impeached (or, less severely, censured) remains premature. More important, it is essential that the Senate vote — hopefully before the November elections, and with overwhelming support from both parties — to undertake a full investigation of the conduct of the presidency of George W. Bush, along the lines of the Senate Watergate Committee’s investigation during the presidency of Richard M. Nixon.
How much evidence is there to justify such action?
Certainly enough to form a consensus around a national imperative: to learn what this president and his vice president knew and when they knew it; to determine what the Bush administration has done under the guise of national security; and to find out who did what, whether legal or illegal, unconstitutional or merely under the wire, in ignorance or incompetence or with good reason, while the administration barricaded itself behind the most Draconian secrecy and disingenuous information policies of the modern presidential era.
Impeachment is certainly premature, but it may be a step in the direction to force an investigation into serious questions being raised. While I’m not on-board with the partisan motives of ImpeachPAC (their goal is obviously to put Democrats in power… lot of good that would do), I do applaud them in bringing the issue to the forefront to force prying eyes into this administration and hopefully spawn some type of formal independent inquiry (no partisan crap here please, just a straight-investigation on the facts alone).