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By Kevin Mooney – Unelected extra-constitutional czars are least partly responsible for the moratorium that continues to undermine energy production in the Gulf Coast. That’s why Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) has stepped up to block funding for administrative appointments that escape congressional scrutiny.
In June, Vitter offered up an amendment that would defund existing czar positions in the Obama Administration and require Senate approval before any new positions of this type could be filled. It fell just short in a 47-51 vote, but it attracted bipartisan support and will be used as model for future legislation.
“Obama’s czars have a great deal of power and authority and should be subject to the scrutiny of public opinion by going through the Senate confirmation process,” Vitter said. “As long as the czars continue calling shots that have a profound effect on our lives, like how the Climate Czar was instrumental in forcing the job-killing moratorium, I’ll continue pushing my legislation to prohibit their funding.”
The Vitter amendment would have eliminated funding for newly established administrative offices that are headed by a ‘czar.’ It also expand the definition of what is considered a ‘czar’ to include the head of any task force, council, policy office or similar office established by the president that has not been confirmed by the U.S. Senate. This would not include the National Security Advisor.
Right from the outset of the Obama Administration, Vitter has argued against the use of policy czars within the executive branch who can move and shape policy without answering to Congress.
In 2009, Vitter introduced an amendment to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Department of Interior spending bill that would prohibit any federal funds from being directed to programs or policies initiated by the White House Climate Change Czar.
Van Jones, former a “green jobs czar,” who describes himself as a former communist, was forced out of the Obama Administration after his political activities were highlighted by Glenn Beck on Fox News. Jones signed the 9/11truth.org petition that claimed President Bush was behind the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
Since leaving his White House position in September 2009, Jones went on to serve as a senior fellow with the Center for American Progress (CAP), a liberal-leaning research and advocacy group headed up by John Podesta, who served as President Clinton’s chief of staff. Jones also founded Color of Change, a 501c4 non-profit that came together in response to Hurricane Katrina in 2005. After targeting the advertisers for the Glenn Beck program earlier this year, Color of Change now takes credit for the separation between Beck and Fox News.
Color of Change has worked in concert with allied organizations to circle the wagons around. Mark Lloyd, the Federal Communication Commission’s (FCC) diversity czar; and with good reason. Lloyd’s record offers up strong confirmation of ALG’s research efforts.
As the Wall Street Journal has reported, Lloyd was a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress in 2007, where co-authored a report “that proposed ways the FCC could change the balance of conservatives to progressives on talk radio by imposing new rules on the radio industry, such as more frequent license renewals and a national radio-ownership cap.”
From here, it gets worse. Investor’s Business Daily in an editorial described Lloyd as a disciple of Saul Alinksy and a fan of Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chavez. To drive home its concerns IBD quoted a June 10 video of Lloyd at the Free Press 2008 National Conference for Media Reform, which showed him saying:
“In Venezuela, with Chavez, it’s really an incredible revolution – a democratic revolution. To begin to put in place things that are going to have an impact on the people of Venezuela.”
Sen. Vitter’s amendment, which was attached to the Nominations Process Reform Bill, could mark the beginning of a larger congressional effort aimed at reclaiming constitutional authority for elected officials. All Republicans present and Democrat Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) and Ben Nelson (D-Ne.) supported the amendment.
Kevin Mooney is a contributing editor to Americans for Limited Government. You can follow Kevin on Twitter at @KevinMooneyDC.