New York Congressman Has 'Very Serious Questions' About Election Bill, Says Bush and Cheney 'Have Violated Federal Laws in Criminal Ways'...
By Brad Friedman on 7/18/2007, 6:35am PT  

Blogged by Brad Friedman from Houston...

Radio host Peter B. Collins has been earning his keep of late. On his last show before a three-week Summer vacation today (we will be filling in to Guest Host for him for the next week and a half), Collins finished up a segment with Rep. Maurice Hinchey (D-NY) today concerning his efforts to renew the Fairness Doctrine with two quick, unrelated questions.

First, Collins asked whether the Congressman supported the controversial Rush Holt Election Reform Bill (HR 811) "in it's current form." The legislation has come under fire from Election Integrity advocates for its continued allowance of the use of dangerous DRE touch-screen voting machines, and a host of other concerns.

Hinchey --- who is currently signed on as one of the bill's co-sponsors --- responded by saying he had "some very serious questions about it" and feels that "it has been compromised."

While there was no time to follow up with details, his comments likely referred to the troubling changes made to the bill by the House Administration Committee. Originally, the legislation had called for complete disclosure of electronic voting system source code to any member of the public interested in examining it. By the time the bill was voted out of committee, however, those important disclosure provisions had been changed to require that the source code be placed in escrow, to be examined only by so-called "experts" in the event that a problem is discovered during an election, and only under non-disclosure agreements.

Those changes led Holt himself to admit that "the vendors have won," according to reports from several Election Integrity advocates who attended a town hall event where the New Jersey Congressman spoke over the weekend. No word on whether Holt may be removing himself as a co-sponsor of the Holt bill in light of his reported admissions.

Secondly, Collins asked Hinchey, "What is your posture on the impeachment of Vice President Cheney?"

Hinchey, who is not one of the 14 current co-sponsors of Dennis Kucinich's HR (see explanation at end of article) House Res 333, calling for the Impeachment of Dick Cheney, laughed and said "I think that this administration --- both the President and the Vice-President --- are the most impeachable in the history of our country."

He went on to add that both Bush and Cheney "have engaged in activities that have not only made them impeachable, but they have engaged in activities that have violated, in a criminal way, very important federal laws."

When asked what might be done to encourage House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to put Impeachment "back on the table," Hinchey replied that he felt it already was, but that Pelosi "doesn't have the votes to do it." He added that the problem is more acute in the Senate, where the Democrats have only "the majority of one single vote."

It should be noted, however, that the Senate has nothing to do with an Impeachment vote. That is the sole Constitutional purview of the House of Representatives. A vote in the Senate comes into play only after a vote to impeach by the House, and then a complete trial in the Senate, where evidence can be presented and witnesses, such as Bush and Cheney, can be placed on the stand, under oath.

Click below to hear the brief audio segment with Collins's two quick questions of Hinchey (appx 1.5 mins):

A complete transcript of the short conversation follows below...

PETER B. COLLINS: I've got just a minute remaining, and I wanted to mention two things. One is do you support the Rush Holt HR811 Election Reform bill in it's current form?

REP. MAURICE HINCHEY: I have some very serious questions about it and I think the way that it has been compromised is making it ineffective and, in fact, might make it...might make it not good.

PBC: I'm pleased to hear that. And we oppose it in its current form and I would love to see it go through with a little work and with a little more consumer protections, more protections for the average citizen.

HINCHEY: We're working on it with Rush now.

PBC: Very good sir, I appreciate that. And finally, what is your posture on impeachment of Vice President Cheney?

HINCHEY: (laughs) I think that this administration --- both the President and the Vice-President --- are the most impeachable in the history of our country. They have engaged in activities that have not only made them impeachable, but they have engaged in activities that have violated, in a criminal way, very important federal laws...and there is no question, they have behaved very very badly.

PBC: And Congressman, just in a few seconds, how do we persuade my friend Nancy Pelosi to put it back on the table?

HINCHEY: Well, she is persuaded that way. It's not her. It's what she has to deal with here in the Congress. She just doesn't have the votes to do it. And that particularly...that's not only true in the House of Representatives, but it's particularly true in the Senate. We only have the majority of one single vote.

PBC: Congressman, I'm out of town. Maurice Hinchey, thank you very much.

HINCHEY: Okay, thank you.

CORRECTIONS: We had originally described Kucinich's Impeachment Resolution as HR 333. It's actually House Res. 333, meaning it's a resolution, not a bill, and thus requires only approval of the House. It does not require a matching bill in the Senate, or the signature of a President.