GAO States the Obvious: Dick Cheney is a Liar

Not that it's news to anyone, but the General Accounting Office, the investigative arm of Congress, said yesterday that Vice President Dick Cheney thwarted their attempts to investigate his energy task force by refusing to turn over documents.

Thanks to the GAO, we now know what we had long expected, that Cheney met with lobbyists and executives from the coal, nuclear, natural gas and electricity industries. What we don't know, and won't likely know until Cheney is dead and George W. Bush is in prison, is what went on during these meetings, or how much money was spent. Apparently no one took any notes.

Administration officials did not account for much of the money spent on the task force and could not remember whether anyone took official notes during the 10 Cabinet-level meetings the group held in 2001, the investigators said.

The report came more than eight months after a federal judge rejected the GAO's demand that the administration turn over task force records.

Cheney spokeswoman Jennifer Millerwise advised critics to put the dispute behind them. "Now that the courts have dismissed the GAO lawsuit and GAO has issued its final report, we hope that everyone will focus as strongly as the administration has on meeting America's energy needs," shesaid.

Instead, the GAO report provoked a new round of complaints from Democrats in Congress.

"This report is a sad chronicle of the efforts of the office of the vice president to hide its activities from the American people," said Michigan Rep. John Dingell, the senior Democrat on the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

"However, no party provided us with any documentary evidence to support or negate this assertion," the GAO said. "Agency officials could not recollect whether official rosters or minutes were kept at the meetings."

Cheney's office turned over 77 pages of documents relating to money spent on the task force, but all were either irrelevant or useless, the GAO said.