Report on Obama's Law-Breaking Prisoner Swap Gives Boehner Schadenfreude

For Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), a finding by the congressional watchdog that the Obama administration violated the law was an 'I-told-you-so' moment.

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Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) broke out the sarcasm on Friday as he seized on a finding by the congressional watchdog that the Obama administration violated the law when he swapped five Taliban prisoners for the return of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl.

Boehner has accused President Obama of overstepping his constitutional authority on a range of issues and is even leading the House in suing the president.

So the report released Thursday by the Government Accountability Office, a congressional oversight agency, provided the Speaker with something of an 'I-told-you-so' moment.

Yesterday, the nonpartisan, independent Government Accountability Office confirmed what everyone capable of reading the English language already knew: the White House ignored the law when it released five dangerous Taliban prisoners without proper Congressional notification.

Boehner linked the finding to other "lapses" in judgment by the administration, and he implicitly warned Obama not to go ahead with an executive order offering legal status to undocumented immigrants that may be coming later this summer.

At a time when we are grappling with the evil terror of the self-proclaimed ‘Islamic State’ in Syrian and Iraq – a group whose leader was once an American detainee, before being released – it is difficult to imagine a more potentially serious lapse in judgment by the Obama administration.

Further, it is yet another reminder of this White House’s stubborn and dangerous practice of simply ignoring laws it finds inconvenient.  As news reports continue to suggest that the president is contemplating re-writing the law again, he should take into account the fact that this nonpartisan, independent agency has confirmed he exceeded his authority. 

Every time the president unilaterally re-writes the law and ignores the Constitution, he does damage to the institutions of our democratic government, and undermines further the bonds of trust between that government and the American people."

In the report sent to Republican senators on Thursday, the G.A.O. faulted the Pentagon for not providing Congress with the 30 days notice required by law when it transfers prisoners out of the detention center in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. It also said the administration violated the Antideficiency Act in authorizing a $1 million payment for the transfers.

We conclude that DOD violated section 8111 because it did not notify the relevant congressional committees at least 30 days in advance of the transfer. In addition, because DOD used appropriated funds to carry out the transfer when no money was available for that purpose, DOD violated the Antideficiency Act."

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.