Change.gov has their responses to the second round of "open for questions" up. The most popular question came from Bob Fertik, who asked:
"Will you appoint a Special Prosecutor (ideally Patrick Fitzgerald) to independently investigate the gravest crimes of the Bush Administration, including torture and warrantless wiretapping?"
This question has received a decent amount of media play, as it is featured by Keith Olbermann and George Stephanopoulos. The latter teases that he asked Obama this question in an interview for "This Week" tomorrow morning.
Change.gov's response to Fertik's question was a bit of a non-answer, quoting Biden from three weeks ago:
Vice President-elect Biden, 12/21/08: "[T]he questions of whether or not a criminal act has been committed or a very, very, very bad judgment has been engaged in is--is something the Justice Department decides. Barack Obama and I are--President-elect Obama and I are not sitting thinking about the past. We're focusing on the future... I'm not ruling [prosecution] in and not ruling it out. I just think we should look forward. I think we should be looking forward, not backwards."
While not ruling out investigation, Biden's response makes it clear that such investigations will not be a priority. It is a safe bet that Obama will provide a similar answer tomorrow morning.
This is an instance where we do not have to wait for the Justice Department, however. Given that, in the U.S. House, John Conyers has introduced legislation to set up commissions to investigate the Bush administration, this could actually be a perfect starting point for the progressive legislation monitoring project. Starting on either Monday or Tuesday, we could call the Democratic members of the four(!) committees to which the Conyers bill, H.R. 104, has been referred, and ask them if they support it. In so doing, we can find out who is blocking the bill on our end.
Now, I did not originally list H.R. 104 as one of the pieces of legislation for the project to start with, because it is just a commission rather than an actual investigation. If no one is actually going to be prosecuted, this might not rise above the level of a resolution condemning something or congratulating someone. However, it is something that a lot of netroots activists and media types are both interested in, so I am willing to make it one of the bills we start with if there is enough support here. To go along with it, I will try to find another piece of legislation that has been referred to each of the four committees in question, so that we are asking members about more than one bill. If we can find out about more than one piece of legislation with each contact, it would make the monitoring project much more efficient.
So, I'd like to hear from you. Let me know what you think about starting with H.R. 104, creating a commission to investigate Bush-era crimes, in the comments. Also, in the extended entry, I have included a poll on the matter.