When it comes to Special Counsel hearings, President Bush has skated through his presidency.

It helps, of course, that Bush isn’t suspected of engaging in oral sex in the Oval Office. But another reason is the expiration of the law that grants special counsels. The law, enacted after Watergate, died without objections from either party in 1999. Although the Justice Department could still request a special counsel investigation to look into possible conflicts of interest, the chances that Attorney General John Ashcroft would do so are about 1 in a trillion. So far, all special counsel requests have been denied, including Rep. John Conyers’ (D-Mich.) demand in June that Ashcroft appoint a special counsel to investigate allegations that Westar Energy officers made political contributions to key lawmakers in exchange for favorable results on energy legislation. Sen. Fritz Hollings (D-S.C.) was also denied after he asked for an inquiry into Enron.

How about a special counsel investigation into Bush’s misleading statements that Iraq was trying to buy uranium in Niger? Fat chance. Ashcroft is too busy trying to sell the country the benefits of the PATRIOT Act.

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