Ron Paul: Why I Voted Against Giving Subpoena Power to Obama’s BP Commission

Ron Paul explains why he was the only Congressman to vote against giving subpoena power to Obama’s BP Commission.

Channel: Fox News
Host: Stuart Varney
Date: 06/24/2010


Stuart Varney: The White House is digging in as the president’s drilling ban gets drilled, again, in court. But the White House today is not giving up despite this latest legal setback.

Ken Salazar: We want to keep the moratorium in place until we get to a level where we can provide a sense of safety to the American people that drilling can, in fact, continue.

Stuart Varney: Well, the president wants his oil spill commission to have a final say on when, or if, drilling can continue. That commission, by the way, is chock full of environmentalists. And now that commission has subpoena power. My next guest, the only one to vote against that move, is Texas Republican Ron Paul. Congressman, as always, welcome to the program.

Ron Paul: Thank you, nice to be with you.

Stuart Varney: Now, you voted against giving subpoena power to this commission. But, as you know, in the past, the commission that looked into Three Mile Island, and the commission that looked into the assassination of President Kennedy, did have that subpoena power. Don’t you think that this oil spill rises to the level of requiring teeth; subpoena power?

Ron Paul: Are you sure those commissions were set up by executive order, or could they have been set up by the Congress? Usually these commissions are set up by the Congress. My objection is to the process. I am very concerned about giving the executive branch too much power. If the Congress had set up the commission, that would have been a different story. But this was done by executive order and it is a blank check, and I just do not think that is the process. We should be very, very cautious of giving subpoena power to Congress or to a commission.

Stuart Varney: I know you’re also concerned of the people who are on that commission. Because as you can see – we’re scrolling it up on the screen right now – most of them are environmentalist. I don’t believe there is a driller up or a serious oil person on that commission. But, again, to return to your point about executive power, overreach maybe. Again, doesn’t this rise to the level of such a disaster, that maybe the federal government really has to just get in there and do it?

Ron Paul: Well, that’s generally the case in this city; whenever there is a crisis, it’s always so great that you have everybody rise to such a level, that you can put aside the Constitution. This is a time when you should be particularly protective of the Constitution, whether it’s 9/11 or whatever. Just look at what we did after 9/11 with the PATRIOT Act and other things. I think we go to fast. Sometimes we even go to war because it rises to a certain level. We went to war against Iraq and Afghanistan without a declaration of war, because people say, “It’s an emergency, weapons of mass destruction”. So we should be very cautious. We can work this through, but to reject our rules and reject the process I think is a very dangerous precedent to set.

Stuart Varney: It is going to happen, obviously. I mean, we can have views on whether it’s constitutional or a breach of executive power, but it is going to happen. Do you think there is any doubt that this commission will rule that you’ve got to delay a long time before you return to drilling, if at all? Any doubt?

Ron Paul: Well, it’s hard to say because if the environmentalists had their way, that would be one thing. But there is also the fact that the large corporations and governments aren’t always against each other. I think sometimes they work together. And, you know, BP is all for Cap and Trade and they get a lot of benefits from our military protection in the Persian Gulf. So who knows what will come of it? So we definitely need to find out, and you know my position has been that they are 100% responsible for all those who are injured and we do need to know. But we don’t want to just keep giving more power to the president and say, “Oh, executive order”. You know, “neat little deal.”

Stuart Varney: Congressman Ron Paul, always a pleasure. Thanks for joining us again, sir. Appreciate it.

Ron Paul: Thank you.