Our country’s Founders—at least most of them—did not want a king. So they included in the Constitution a Congress and a Bill of Rights to curb executive power. Congress’s exclusive power of the purse is the strongest such curb.
The Obama administration is not the first to chafe under these restraints, but it has been among the most flagrant in ignoring them.
To avoid scrutiny by appropriations committees, the administration seems to have created more czars than the Romanovs. It has propounded far-reaching executive orders—on immigration, for example—and used a simple waiver authority to impose new federal education mandates on states, in effect, turning the U.S. Department of Education into a national school board. To circumvent the Senate’s constitutional role to advise and consent on nominations, President Obama has made so-called recess appointments when the Senate wasn’t in recess—appointments that two federal appellate courts agreed would be unconstitutional.
Last week, chairmen and ranking Republicans on five congressional committees in both houses of Congress asked the Government Accountability Office to find out the facts. Is Ms. Sebelius raising funds for a private entity and then coordinating with that entity to do something Congress has refused to authorize, or for which it has refused to appropriate funds? And is she raising money from organizations she regulates, in violation of ethics laws?