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Saturday, August 27, 2016

Covering up the $1.3 billion payoff to Iran

This window into the shenanigans the administration is using to implement its deal isn’t just about whether the latest move is legal. No one has yet said it broke the law.

One of the principles of newspapering, though, is that the scandal is often not about what’s illegal but what’s legal. How can the administration tap the taxpayers for $1.3 billion without the say-so of Congress?

This is one of the most basic prohibitions in the Constitution. “No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law,” is the way the parchment puts it.

The government maintains the judgment fund is legit. It calls it an “indefinite, permanent appropriation.” The idea is that Congress didn’t want to be bothered with having to pass a law for every nickel-and-dime settlement.

Could it have intended to authorize a blank check to send $1.3 billion to a regime that calls us the Great Satan and threatens to wipe Israel off the map? What Congress in its right mind would do such a thing?

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