Leahy: Create Commission to Investigate Bush Administration

Posted February 9, 2009 at 11:55am

Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) on Monday called for the creation of a “Truth and Reconciliation Commission” to investigate alleged violations of federal and international law by the Bush administration.

As outlined in a speech at Georgetown University, Leahy’s proposal would be similar to a commission used in South Africa to investigate crimes during the apartheid era.

The commission would have broad subpoena and immunity powers, but would not have the authority to issue indictments, and its findings could not be used against participants in legal proceedings. The commission is designed “not for purposes of constructing criminal indictments but to assemble the truth,” Leahy said.

President Barack Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder have said they would like to avoid revisiting some of the ugly partisan battles that marked Bush’s eight years in office. But they also have committed to investigating allegations of criminal wrongdoing by the previous administration.