Contempt of Congress
It sure looked like Ashcroft was in contempt to me, so I decided to see if I could find out real quickly what the penalty for contempt for Congress was, and here's something I found interesting.
It's a transcript from a 1998 Congressional hearing where Rep. Dan Burton is talking smack about holding Janet Reno in contempt for Congress. Rep. Waxman is defending her position in this section:
WAXMAN: The chairman rejected that offer and has today said that she has not even tried to find a middle ground. Well, what offers have been made by the chairman to the attorney general? Give us that memo, or you'll be held in contempt. I want to remind my colleagues that the penalty for contempt can be a year in jail and a $10,000 fine. Is that what we've come to? We threaten the attorney general with jail time if she doesn't make the decision that the chairman wants?
Now I realize this example hurts my case for holding Ashcroft in contempt, but it's late and I've just started nosing into this. I may change my mind on it or maybe I'll find sufficient differences in the two cases to still argue that Ashcroft better get out his checkbook. I'll get back to you on this.