Newsline , Society

Subpoena Energy Officials

Posted on Tuesday, May 30, 2023
by AMAC, Robert B. Charles

Any wonder US fossil fuel production is down, big money for China’s solar industry up – in Biden’s pro-China Energy Department? Any wonder Biden officials asked to testify balk? Subpoena them. Get at the truth. It is time.

Many years ago, as counsel to the US House Oversight Committee, we had subpoena power. We used it sparingly, tended to get cooperation from Clinton’s White House. Those days are gone. The House Republicans promised intense oversight, and should get on Energy’s pro-China bias.

Last week, after months of Republicans insisting Biden’s Energy Department halt a major contract with a Chinese company tied to China’s government – they did so. The real question is what is happening behind the Energy’s dark curtain? Why did it take so long?

More concretely, why did another contract get let to a firm locked up with Communist China? How can Congress legislatively corral officials who seem to feel unaccountable to the People?

The answer to this three-fold, and involves fresh legislative – not just oversight – action.

First, if a US company – with no China ties – can get a job done, especially if it relates to a security-sensitive sector such as energy, the first choice should always be the US company. Why is there no legislation that insists that security-sensitive contracts MUST be let to non-China US firms first?

Second, where are the legal consequences when someone in the Biden – or any other future – administration, places US security, including energy security, at risk? While we have “Buy America” and dual-use restriction laws (i.e. limiting sale of military technology), where are the laws tied to energy dependence on China?

Third, and this relates to the first two but is different, why did a Republican House that asked the officials involved in that China contract to testify, decide to let it all slide when the official declined to testify? If the House does not insist, who is going to?

This is where the rubber meets the road, and someone needs to say so. When any Administration witness who is asked to explain aberrant behavior, or behavior needing legislative correction, choose not to testify – the answer should be shift and certain, a subpoena.

Yes, in cases where a simple and uncontroversial set of documents, or White House document or witness is involved, natural separation of powers issues arrive. But this is not the case when a legislative purpose – and the will and security of the American People is being frustrated.

Even the US Supreme Court has made clear that the Congress can issue a subpoena for a document or witness that will inform future legislative action, and especially if security concerns are implicated. 

True, this Administrations seems adverse to complying even with non-White House subpoenas relating to legislation or constitutional oversight – as evidenced by Justice’s decision last week NOT to honor a congressional request to produce a document implicating the President in a pay-to-pay scheme.

But while that is another important issue, and needs addressing – may even end up at the Supreme Court – the simple truth is that Congress has an obligation to get to truth and to protect the country. Every member swore an oath to that effect, as did senor administration officials.

When a department – in this case Energy – declines a basic, on-the-record, inter-branch conversation, here about whether, why, and how they ended up contracting with China on a matter of security, the idea that Congress should just shrug and walk on is a no-go.

Certainly, there are many priorities – economic, security, and assessing what China is up to – being handled by the go-go Republican House, but when a department goes silent on a request to produce a specific witness, declines and snubs the House, that should be reason for a subpoena.

Whether that will now happen remains to be seen, but just conducting an “empty seat” hearing is like saying, “okay, thumb your nose, and we will talk about it next time.” No, talk about it now.  In short, if Biden’s pro-China Energy Department officials say, “take a hike,” Congress should say, “wait just a minute, the US Constitution gives us a right – and Supreme Court in 2020 affirmed that right – to get to the bottom on this, and we will subpoena you, insist you testify.”

As a former Oversight counsel, my experience tells me that there are many oversight topics and targets. There always are. But when an imperious, uncooperative, seemingly truculent and unaccountable department or official pushes back against oversight, that should be a cue. The Supreme Court has made clear, Congress has the power to insist they testify.

In short, Congress should issue a subpoena, do not let Energy officials walk. Instead, get to the bottom of this pro-China Energy bias.  Make clear Congress does not take anti-constitutional behavior lightly.

Robert Charles is a former Assistant Secretary of State under Colin Powell, former Reagan and Bush 41 White House staffer, attorney, and naval intelligence officer (USNR). He wrote “Narcotics and Terrorism” (2003), “Eagles and Evergreens” (2018), and is National Spokesman2 for AMAC.

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6 months ago

All you’ll get is “I don’t recall” or I am not aware…”.

6 months ago

Excellent article explaining exactly why Washington is so dysfunctional and unaccountable to the people they work for.
Subpoena every official who is selling out America first interest!
It past time these arrogant anti American bureaucrats were made an example of.
When will this failure of an administration be brought to task???

anna hubert
anna hubert
6 months ago

Subpoena energy officials Let’s pretend it’s done What is the next move and who makes it If it were that simple whole whack of them would be out of office and in place they belong to We have a process of osmosis in DC going on They all meld together and together they stand

David Millikan
David Millikan
6 months ago

Energy Independence is a matter of National Security and Economic Security.
Treason was committed on 1-20-21, when Dictator Beijing biden KILLED our Energy Independence, Economy, and National Security including allowing his
How many ILLEGAL ALIEN TERRORIST, DISEASE INFESTED, UNEDUCATED, and CRIMINALS have been let into our country DESTROYING OUR SOVEREIGNTY by the hands of Dictator Beijing biden?
MILLIONS upon MILLIONS that WILL affect our economy in unimaginable ways starting with OUR TAX DOLLARS, SAFETY, and SOVEREIGNTY.
This is what happens when you vote democrat.

Gabe Hanzeli
Gabe Hanzeli
6 months ago

Yup just one more of obama, clinton, soros, schumer, pelosi and schiffs investments making money at your expense.

6 months ago


While I agree with the 3 points you laid out, even you clearly state what is needed is ACTION to change the current American energy policy. I take ACTION to equal actual CHANGE being made. Not a publicity stunt or a glorified photo op. A change in an energy policy that is NOT currently centered either on solid economic footing nor on prudent, long-term national security goals. If your goal is to rightly alter currently bad energy policy, what is to be accomplished by conducting yet another “go nowhere” Congressional hearing? A hearing where several Energy Department officials appear before the House and either straight up lie with impunity under oath (no one is going to be arrested and charged with perjury with our current DOJ) to the committee or spend the time simply repeating administration talking points.

If you believe that such an appearance before Congress would either shame or embarrass any Energy Department official or the Biden administration as a whole to change energy policy, then you haven’t been paying attention for the last 2 1/2 years of this administration. The only way to force a change on this administration is to CUT the funding for enough of the federal government to force the administration to change course. That is one true weapon that Congress possesses to force the Executive Branch to pay attention. Unfortunately, we both know that Congress is NEVER going to pursue that course of action.

If your goal is to simply educate the American people, then sadly that will also prove unsuccessful. The percentage of Americans that actually pay attention to what is going on, already know most or all the facts as to why we are pursuing a China-centric energy policy. As for the rest of the country, they are wedded to MSM news outlets that simply fed them pablum every single day. The MSM won’t cover any such Congressional hearings in an honest fashion, if they cover them at all. We’ve seen this proven out in numerous other Congressional hearings where the real facts would impact the administration negatively.

So again, a Congressional hearing by itself will do nothing to alter our current China-centric energy policies. Either Congress would have to defund enough of the federal government to force change (NOT HAPPENING) or we need to replace the current administration in the White House which actually sets America’s energy policy. We really don’t need to waste more taxpayer dollars on more Congressional hearings that go nowhere. McCarthy and McConnell (remember him who has been silent for weeks on everything) can simply stand before a microphone and say they don’t agree with our current China-centric energy policy. It will have the same bottom line effect and it will cost a whole lot less.

legally present
legally present
6 months ago

Jennifer Granholm hasn’t gotten any smarter after leaving the Governorship of Michigan. She’s an idiot,

Stephen Russell
Stephen Russell
6 months ago

Subopena these too

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