Earlier this week, Rep. Elise Stefanik voted against enforcing the rule of law.
We’re aghast that the political divide in this country has led to a place where politicians believe they can pick and choose which laws they obey and which they do not.
There was a lot of that this week, and we believe it should stop.
We also realize it may look like we are picking on our congressional representative. We’ve “booed” her quite a bit in our “Boos and Bravos” columns recently, and we’ve criticized several of her stands in editorials.
But that is the price of holding office.
We consider it our job to hold elected officials accountable for their votes and positions and acknowledge these are unusually political times. It is not personal and it is not partisan.
This all came to a head this week because Attorney General William Barr and former White House Counsel Don McGahn refused to appear before Congress after being issued subpoenas.
Subpoenas are not supposed to be optional. They are legal documents requiring you to appear to give testimony.
The legislation voted on by the House of Representatives this week empowered the House to begin legal proceedings to force Barr and McGahn to obey the subpoenas and appear before the House and give testimony.
To comply with the rule of law.
That seems straightforward and important to us.
Rep. Stefanik voted against that. So did 190 of her Republican colleagues.
We hoped to understand why, because it sure looked like they were just protecting members of their own party.
The laws of our country are supposed to supersede political motivations and we fear that Rep. Stefanik and her colleagues did not rise above politics in this instance.
Post-Star reporter Michael Goot emailed her representative for a statement to explain her vote.
He heard nothing, so he asked a second time.
He heard nothing again.
Post-Star Editor Ken Tingley reached out to her representative on Friday morning, pointing out that Rep. Stefanik had ignored any explanation of why she voted against rule of law in previous correspondence.
Later Friday, her representative apologized for the delay, writing that it had been a busy week and providing the following statement of why the congresswoman had voted against protecting the rule of law:
“I have been a consistent supporter of transparency throughout the special counsel’s investigation. Unfortunately, this resolution does little to strengthen congressional oversight and only furthers House Democrats pro-impeachment agenda.”
We found that response lacking. It left us puzzled about how “transparency” plays into the legislation and believe that it absolutely strengthens congressional oversight.
We also found her vote a failure to follow her constitutional oath to “preserve and protect the Constitution of the United States.”
We believe that is serious.
No matter what the motivations of any piece of legislation. The rule of law must be protected and Rep. Stefanik chose not to do that.
That gives us grave concern.