It seems that we have the amateurs making more comedy as they violate a law they passed themselves:
It’s not every day that the Government Accountability Office (GAO) reports that the Executive Office of the President violated federal law, but that’s the conclusion the GAO released in a report this month, after reviewing bilateral talks with the Chinese government hosted by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP).
The White House Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) disputes GAO’s analysis, arguing that the law does not constitutionally apply to the OSTP’s diplomatic activities.
The disagreement stems from meetings this past May in which officials from the OSTP met with representatives of the Chinese government to discuss technology innovation and economic issues.
After reviewing the meetings at the behest of Rep. Frank Wolf, R-Va., the GAO “conclude[d] that OSTP’s use of appropriations to fund its participation in the Innovation Dialogue and the [economic issues] violated” a section of the Department of Defense appropriations bill that became law in April.
“The plain meaning of section 1340 is clear,” wrote GAO general counsel Lynn Gibson, adding that OSTP “contravened the appropriations restriction.” The GAO report provided the text of section 1340:
“None of the funds made available by this division may be used for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration or the Office of Science and Technology Policy to develop, design, plan, promulgate, implement, or execute a bilateral policy, program, order, or contract of any kind to participate, collaborate, or coordinate bilaterally in any way with China or any Chinese-owned company unless such activities are specifically authorized by a law enacted after the date of enactment of this division.”
Assistant Attorney General Virginia Seitz responded with memorandum in which she argued that section 1340 “is unconstitutional as applied to certain activities undertaken pursuant to the President’s constitutional authority to conduct the foreign relations of the United States.”
Never mind the irony that one Obama’s lawyers is talking about something being unconstitutional right when Obama is talking about circumventing congress, the law, and the constitution, but it seems these geniuses feel that the law shouldn’t apply to them. If you work your way around the lawyerese here, it looks like the WH has yet another crisis to distract people with. Heh!