Remember the budget impasse last fall that shut the government down at the beginning of the new federal fiscal year in October? You know:
- The one where the president scored endless points on the backs of Republicans for not having shown enough flexibility to avoid the shutdown?
- The one that resulted in all 401 of the national parks, monuments, and other properties under supervision of the National Park Service being closed, even though it cost millions of dollars in tourist and associated business revenues?
- The one so rigid that even octogenarian and nonagenarian veterans of the Second World War were locked out of the World War II memorial despite having traveled hundreds of miles, leading them, out of frustration, to cross the barricades so that they could properly remember their dead comrades and the sacrifices of their generation?
- The one that caused howls of "unfair" and "untrue" by the Interior Department and the Park Service when members of the public and parks interest groups questioned whether the shutdown really required such a severe response to the failure to pass a budget?
Well, it turns out that maybe, just maybe, there was a smidgeon more wiggle room on such things than either Interior or the Park Service let on.
Even as veterans and tourists were being turned away from any number of park and monument facilities, the Camino Americano ("American Road") Rally for Comprehensive Immigration Reform was granted a permit by the Interior Department to demonstrate on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. — presumably incurring substantial costs in Park Police salaries and overtime, not to mention the amount needed for maintenance crews and clean-up afterward.
How 'bout them apples? Who knew the road to America could smack of such hypocrisy and outrageous double standards? Nice message to impart by our government officials. Wonder what the American Legion and other veterans groups think about this? Or do they know yet?
Following the rally, the nonprofit organization Judicial Watch filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request seeking from the Department of Interior details regarding the decision-making that resulted in granting the permit and expenditure of funds to support an overtly political purpose to promote amnesty for illegal aliens at a time when throughout the rest of the country citizens, resident aliens, and lawful international visitors were completely denied the benefits of using any Park Service owned or managed facilities.
In response, the administration, adhering to its usual "transparent" principles, stiffed Judicial Watch, which recently was obliged to file a federal lawsuit seeking compliance with FOIA so that they can get to the bottom of this overt piece of hypocrisy.
Let's hope that the presiding judge issues summary judgment in favor of the plaintiff and requires the Department of the Interior to provide the information, however (rightfully) embarrassing it may be.