This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2015, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
Even a blind or blindly partisan squirrel finds a nut now and then. And Jason Chaffetz has definitely found a big one.
Meanwhile, another member of the Utah delegation, Rep. Mia Love, is defending her participation in a congressional probe that promises little, if any, real value beyond an opportunity for partisan attacks based on propaganda and lies.
Good cop, bad cop.
Chaffetz, the Utah Republican who chairs the House Oversight and Government Affairs Committee, has correctly made common cause with the panel's ranking Democrat, as he pledged he would, to release a damning report of the many and apparently systemic flaws in the Secret Service.
Better, Chaffetz resists the political temptation to simply find fault with somebody else's government agency without offering any suggestions as to what should be done about it.
The committee report outlines many instances where security measures surrounding President Obama, his family, or other current or former officials who were under Secret Service protection broke down and created unacceptable levels of risk. The problems in the agency are deep and not nearly enough has been done to fix them, the report says.
But the chairman is going beyond the usual finger-pointing to make a useful suggestion on how the Secret Service might be changed so that it could better do its most visible job, providing security for the president, other high-ranking government officials and, as the campaign season cranks up, presidential candidates.
Chaffetz says he is preparing a bill that would take many important tasks away from the Secret Service, including the agency's original purpose, hunting counterfeiters of U.S. currency. Those assignments could be taken up by the FBI or other organizations.
If, of course, the money and personnel to carry out those responsibilities are also provided. Rep. Elijah Cummings, the Maryland Democrat who is the ranking member of the oversight committee, notes that one reason why the problems in the Secret Service have arisen and seem to persist is that the agency's budget has been cut far below its needs.
And that is a problem created by Congress, not the administration. And not just in the matter of the Secret Service, but in other budgets including the one for security for U.S. diplomatic missions overseas. You know, like the one in Benghazi.
Some money to shore up all those security agencies could quickly be found if the special committee Love has been assigned to the one looking into already discredited allegations that Planned Parenthood has been illegally selling body parts from aborted fetuses would be dissolved.
It's a thoroughly bogus goose chase that only serves to inflame the Republican base. It will only add to the public misunderstanding of Planned Parenthood, falsehoods which can be tied to such acts of horrible violence as the recent murder of three people at a clinic in Colorado Springs.
Not all congressional investigations are created equal. The Chaffetz-Cummings report on the Secret Service is better than most.