by Lil Tuttle
“One independent group can change history,” Tom Fitton told attendees at the December Conservative Women’s Network (CWN) luncheon. Mr. Fitton is president of Judicial Watch, an educational foundation dedicated to uncovering documents of government actions and exposing government corruption when it occurs.
Lack of oversight by the media and the Congress—the two watchdogs that the American people historically relied upon—made Judicial Watch’s work more critical during the past decade. The organization filed more than 3,000 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests seeking government documents during those years, and it petitioned courts for documents about 30 times when government agencies were unresponsive.
Mr. Fitton described how Judicial Watch’s work exposed, among other things, Secretary Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server for official State Department communications, email communications of IRS employee Lois Lerner and others who were illegally targeting conservative organization, and the Obama Administration’s dishonesty surrounding the Benghazi attack that cost a U.S. Ambassador and other Americans their lives.
“The problem in Washington DC,” said Mr. Fitton, “is that both sides see a downside in raising ethical questions about the other.”
As a result, nothing really gets done … Congress writes checks with its eyes closed. Agencies don’t want the public to know what they are up to, and President Obama’s administration acted as though the Constitution didn’t apply to the Executive Branch.
Elections don’t mean anything when you have a government that acts like this. Sending Congress to town to do nothing but spend money. Allowing government agencies to avoid accountability. This isn’t self-government.
Going forward, Mr. Fitton argued, President-elect Trump has some decisions to make in terms of empowering his appointees to be transparent. He can do a lot to bring sunshine into the government.
If the next president wants to truly reform the system, some political capital will need to be spent on battling corruption and enforcing the Rule of Law. The public needs to know who is responsible for the misconduct and abuses of power that occur, and make sure these people are not in a position to make decisions in the future.
Mr. Fitton’s full remarks and audience Q&A are available in the video below: