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Thread: Impeachment Related: GAO Determines Trump Violated Impoundment Control Act

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    tWebber
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    Impeachment Related: GAO Determines Trump Violated Impoundment Control Act

    Breaking today: the Government Accountability Office has determined that Trump's decision to withhold Ukrainian security funds violated the Impoundment Control Act, established after Nixon's resignation.

    The full text doesn't appear to be online yet but Senator Van Hollen shared the first page:

    Screen Shot 2020-01-16 at 10.02.31 AM.jpg

    Violation of the ICA is #8 on JustSecurity's list of potential crimes and violations committed by Trump regarding the matters surrounding his impeachment.

    --Sam
    "I wonder about the trees. / Why do we wish to bear / Forever the noise of these / More than another noise / So close to our dwelling place?" — Robert Frost, "The Sound of Trees"


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    tWebber
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    Natasha Bertrand has screenshots of the full GAO memo here.

    Source:

    CONCLUSION:

    OMB violated the ICA when it withheld DOD's USAI funds from obligation for policy reasons. This impoundment of budget activity was not a programmatic delay.

    OMB and State have failed, as of yet, to provide the information we need to fulfill our duties under the ICA regarding potential impoundment of FMF funds. We will continue to pursue this matter and will provide our decision to Congress after we have received the necessary information.

    We consider a reluctance to provide a fulsome response to have constitutional significance. GAO's role under the ICA--to provide information and legal analysis to Congress as it performs oversight of executive activity--is essential to ensuring respect for allegiance to Congress' constitutional power of the purse. All federal officials and employees take an oath to uphold and protect the Constitution and its core tenets, including the congressional power of the purse. We trust that State and OMB will provide the information needed.

    © Copyright Original Source

    "I wonder about the trees. / Why do we wish to bear / Forever the noise of these / More than another noise / So close to our dwelling place?" — Robert Frost, "The Sound of Trees"


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    God, family, chicken! Bill the Cat's Avatar
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    Keep flinging poo. Something is eventually going to stick... That's the left's approach.


    Without a clear-cut definition of sin, morality becomes a mere argument over the best way to train animals --- Manya the Holy Szin --- The Quintara Marathon ---

    I may not be as old as dirt, but me and dirt are starting to have an awful lot in common --- Stephen R. Donaldson ---

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    tWebber
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    I'm going to request, for this thread, that comments at least include a substantive post concerning the merits of the GAO decision.

    You can snark but you gotta earn it.

    --Sam
    "I wonder about the trees. / Why do we wish to bear / Forever the noise of these / More than another noise / So close to our dwelling place?" — Robert Frost, "The Sound of Trees"


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    God, family, chicken! Bill the Cat's Avatar
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    OMB Official Mark Sandy declared in sworn testimony:

    Source: https://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/article/2019/dec/05/did-trump-violate-impoundment-control-act/

    the OMB implemented the hold on aid to Ukraine through footnotes in a series of funding documents, known as apportionments, sent to the Defense Department. The footnote in the first document, sent July 25, said the Pentagon couldn’t spend the money until Aug. 5.
    A second line in the footnote said the "brief pause in obligations" would not prevent the Pentagon from disbursing the funds before they expired. That was meant to get "to the heart of that issue about ensuring that we don’t run afoul of the Impoundment Control Act, which means that you have to allow for the timely execution," Sandy said in his testimony.

    © Copyright Original Source



    So, Congress was notified, and the funds were released before expiring. So, no this was not running afoul of this Act.


    Without a clear-cut definition of sin, morality becomes a mere argument over the best way to train animals --- Manya the Holy Szin --- The Quintara Marathon ---

    I may not be as old as dirt, but me and dirt are starting to have an awful lot in common --- Stephen R. Donaldson ---

  6. Amen RumTumTugger amen'd this post.
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    tWebber
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill the Cat View Post
    OMB Official Mark Sandy declared in sworn testimony:

    Source: https://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/article/2019/dec/05/did-trump-violate-impoundment-control-act/

    the OMB implemented the hold on aid to Ukraine through footnotes in a series of funding documents, known as apportionments, sent to the Defense Department. The footnote in the first document, sent July 25, said the Pentagon couldn’t spend the money until Aug. 5.
    A second line in the footnote said the "brief pause in obligations" would not prevent the Pentagon from disbursing the funds before they expired. That was meant to get "to the heart of that issue about ensuring that we don’t run afoul of the Impoundment Control Act, which means that you have to allow for the timely execution," Sandy said in his testimony.

    © Copyright Original Source



    So, Congress was notified, and the funds were released before expiring. So, no this was not running afoul of this Act.
    Sandy's argument was that Congress was notified by virtue of footnotes being placed in funding documents instead of direct notification to Congress. As GAO determined today, that method was insufficient to comply with the law.

    Not all funds were released before the end of the fiscal year, requiring Congress to pass another law allowing the release of the remaining funds.

    So, yes, as GAO determines above, OMB violated the ICA, notwithstanding the after-the-fact legal justifications that OMB attempted to argue.

    --Sam
    "I wonder about the trees. / Why do we wish to bear / Forever the noise of these / More than another noise / So close to our dwelling place?" — Robert Frost, "The Sound of Trees"


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    tWebber
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    Moreover:

    GAO's determination that OMB withheld funding for policy rather than programmatic reasons is important, both to the determination of a violation and to the issue of impeachment: the executive branch, after the President signs something into law, cannot withhold funding for policy purposes. The time to dispute funding policy is before the President agrees to it by signing a bill into law. Regarding impeachment, the policy reason for withholding the funds was Trump's attempt to make Zelensky announce investigations into Biden and the non-existent Ukraine DNC server -- "policy" that we know was being pursued as a matter of Trump's personal, rather than presidential, interest.

    --Sam
    "I wonder about the trees. / Why do we wish to bear / Forever the noise of these / More than another noise / So close to our dwelling place?" — Robert Frost, "The Sound of Trees"


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    God, family, chicken! Bill the Cat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sam View Post
    Sandy's argument was that Congress was notified by virtue of footnotes being placed in funding documents instead of direct notification to Congress. As GAO determined today, that method was insufficient to comply with the law.
    That's for the Judicial Branch to determine, not the Legislative GAO. The GAO findings are like investigators findings. They are non-binding opinion.

    Not all funds were released before the end of the fiscal year, requiring Congress to pass another law allowing the release of the remaining funds.
    Nope. Not all the funds were SPENT before the end of the FY, but that's not against the act.

    So, yes, as GAO determines above, OMB violated the ICA, notwithstanding the after-the-fact legal justifications that OMB attempted to argue.

    --Sam
    And the GAO is a Legislative Branch entity with no teeth. Until a Judicial Branch entity says it was a violation of the law, this is just another poop fling.


    Without a clear-cut definition of sin, morality becomes a mere argument over the best way to train animals --- Manya the Holy Szin --- The Quintara Marathon ---

    I may not be as old as dirt, but me and dirt are starting to have an awful lot in common --- Stephen R. Donaldson ---

  10. Amen RumTumTugger amen'd this post.
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    tWebber
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill the Cat View Post
    Keep flinging poo. Something is eventually going to stick... That's the left's approach.
    Yes, it's just that nothing will stick with the likes of you. That's the rights approach when it comes to the law.

  12. #10
    God, family, chicken! Bill the Cat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JimL View Post
    Yes, it's just that nothing will stick with the likes of you. That's the rights approach when it comes to the law.
    No, dumbass. A Legislative entity can not determine the legality of an action that potentially meets the law. It is the opinion of the GAO that the footnotes were insufficient. And there is no precedent for charging someone with violating the Act. Several SCOTUS cases deal with particular aspects, but no decision on whether it is within the POTUS' power to delay funding based on perceived illegal activity.


    Without a clear-cut definition of sin, morality becomes a mere argument over the best way to train animals --- Manya the Holy Szin --- The Quintara Marathon ---

    I may not be as old as dirt, but me and dirt are starting to have an awful lot in common --- Stephen R. Donaldson ---

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