|For Immediate Release
November 22, 2011
Contact: Kim Smith Hicks, 202 225-3951
Smith Presses Administration for Kagan Documents
Washington, D.C. – House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) today urged the Obama Administration to provide documents and staff interviews regarding former Solicitor General Elena Kagan’s involvement in the review of President Obama’s health care legislation and anticipated litigation over the constitutionality of its provisions.
In letters to both Attorney General Eric Holder and White House Counsel Kathryn Ruemmler, Chairman Smith reiterated his previous request for documents and interviews with staff. He also expanded the request to include additional staff interviews and documents from the White House referencing Ms. Kagan’s participation in any matters involving health care legislation or litigation.
For nearly five months, Chairman Smith has sought information regarding what role former Solicitor General Kagan may have played in the reviewing and advising the Obama administration on the constitutionality of Obamacare. The Justice Department has not asserted any legal privilege over these documents, but has simply refused to provide Congress with the information on the grounds that it would be “unseemly” to reply with the request. But perceived unseemliness is not a sufficient justification to refuse to comply with a congressional request.
Recently released documents show that contrary to claims by administration officials, Ms. Kagan was not “walled off” from discussions about Obamacare. Further, they show that she personally supported the legislation. In a March 21, 2010 email to a Department colleague discussing the legislation, then Solicitor General Kagan wrote, “I hear they have the votes Larry!! Simply amazing.”
This email and the continued refusal of the administration to respond to the requests of Congress only heighten concerns that Solicitor General Kagan may have been involved in privileged discussions regarding the President’s healthcare legislation.
Chairman Smith: “The public has a right to know both the full extent of Justice Kagan’s involvement with this legislation while she was Solicitor General, as well as her previously stated views and opinions about the legislation while she was serving as Solicitor General.”
Attorney General Eric Holder is scheduled to appear before the House Judiciary Committee on December 8, 2011.
Letter to Attorney General Holder
Letter to White House Counsel Ruemmler
Full correspondence between Chairman Smith and the Justice Department regarding Kagan documents