As President Obama sits down on Friday with Republicans who will soon control the Senate and the House, there’s no shortage of issues lawmakers want to tackle when the new Congress convenes in January.
The economy. Health care. ISIS. Energy. These are all critical issues that must be addressed. Time will tell if there will be any substantive action on these issues, or just more political posturing by the president.
One thing is clear, though. With Republicans controlling both chambers of Congress, there will be a real opportunity to pass key legislation addressing these and other critical issues.
It is also clear that the Senate, which has been blocked from investigating numerous scandals over the past six years by outgoing Majority Leader Harry Reid, will now be able to fully engage these troubling and important cases by conducting investigations of its own.
For years the Republican-controlled House has carried the congressional load in probing the scandals. Now it is time for the Senate to join forces.
Here are the top three scandals the Senate must address without delay:
- IRS: Investigate a corrupt IRS that unlawfully targeted conservative groups.
- Benghazi: Determine what really happened when militant Islamists murdered four Americans, including our ambassador, in the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya.
- Operation Fast & Furious: Unearth the truth in the botched U.S. gun-running operation Fast & Furious, which resulted in the death of a U.S. Border Patrol agent.
With the Senate engaging in these issues, there is new hope, a new opportunity to get the facts — to get the truth. As the House knows, it isn’t easy — especially since the Obama administration continues to engage in its policy of dodging, deceiving and delaying.
Even as the American people were voting on Tuesday, the administration didn’t skip a beat in exhibiting its arrogance and commitment to doing all it can to keep the truth from them.
On Monday night, the Department of Justice released more than 64,000 documents that President Obama, claiming executive privilege, had been withholding from Congress. The release came only after a federal court order, raising questions about the timing of the document dump — on election eve.
At the same time, there are reports that attorneys for the IRS have told a federal court that they have not searched various other sources — including backup tapes and computer servers — for the missing emails of former top agency official Lois Lerner, claiming that doing so would be fruitless.
On Tuesday, voters made it clear that they want change. Americans are tired of an administration that embraces what can only be described as a systematic program of stonewalling and deception.
The Senate is now positioned to schedule hearings and conduct investigations to get the truth.
Sen. Mitch McConnell, who’s expected to be elected majority leader, wasted no time in addressing these concerns when he talked with reporters on Wednesday. When asked about the likelihood of conducting hearings on the IRS, his response was immediate: “Oh, you can bet on that.”
At the ACLJ, we continue to pursue our legal challenges against the IRS, representing 41 organizations in one case along with a New Hampshire organization in a newly filed federal lawsuit.
We look forward to working with a Senate that understands its responsibilities to root out corruption, to uncover the truth and to hold those responsible accountable. The American people deserve nothing less.
We welcome the Senate’s involvement.
Jay Sekulow is Chief Counsel of the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), which focuses on constitutional law. He’s a New York Times bestselling author. Jay's latest book “Undemocratic: Rogue, Reckless and Renegade: How the Government is Stealing Democracy One Agency at a Time” (Feb 2) is available now. He hosts "Jay Sekulow Live"-- a daily radio show which is broadcast on more than 850 stations nationwide as well as Sirius/XM satellite radio. Follow him on Twitter @JaySekulow.