WASHINGTON – Vice President Dick Cheney says the White House acted responsibly when Republicans led Congress and wanted more information from the administration. Democrats say lawmakers abdicated their oversight role.
Now, with Democrats running Congress and challenging a multitude of administration policies, Cheney on Sunday promised cooperation, but some resistance, based on the White House's case-by-case evaluation of the appropriateness of Democrats' requests.
Democrats plan to investigate the Iraq war, suspected government fraud and White House decision-making on environmental policy, secret surveillance and other matters.
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Cheney says the White House is "very responsible" supplying information to lawmakers.
"And when there is a legitimate need for those documents to be presented to the Congress, and they have a legitimate constitutional or statutory reason to have access to them, we try to accommodate them," he said.
With some notable exceptions, he added:
—"Sometimes requests have been made that clearly fall outside the boundaries, clearly trying to get into an area, for example, that is preserved and protected for the president — the president's ability to consult, for example, with people in private without having to publicize or tell the Congress who he's talking to."
—"We took that case on my energy task force, for example, all the way to the Supreme Court and won on a 7-2 decision. So it depends. We'll do everything we can to cooperate and work with the Congress. We want good relations with the Congress."
In 2005, an appeals court said Cheney did not have to disclose the advice his energy task force got from the industry. The administration fought hard to keep the panel's workings secret, arguing that public disclosure would make it difficult for any White House to solicit candid advice on important policy issues.
The year before, the Supreme Court by a 7-2 ruling had sent the case back, saying there was a "paramount necessity of protecting the executive branch from vexatious litigation."
Cheney said the White House would take a case-by-case approach.
"But if they come down and seek something that we don't think is appropriate, we'll defend our constitutional obligations and responsibilities," he said. "We take an oath just like they do to protect, preserve and defend the Constitution of the United States. And so we have strong feelings about it, and we've operated accordingly."
Cheney appeared on "FOX News Sunday."
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