What is the purpose of governmental oversight? The dictionary definition of a person or body having oversight of a process or system is that “they are responsible for making sure that it works efficiently and correctly.” Possibly then one could say that the purpose of governmental oversight is to see that the government is doing things according to the designated process. One would think then, that in order to make such an evaluation, it would be necessary to have access to information pertaining to how decisions were made, by whom and when etc. Seems reasonable doesn’t it..?
How then can any system permit that the body being overseen is permitted to determine what evidence about its performance can be seen and what cannot? This week in the United States of America, the Senate Appropriations committee requested testimony from a Dr. Fauci concerning the government’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic – and was denied such testimony by the White House. (The Senate Appropriations committee is responsible for writing into law all Federal expenditure, a role which includes the authorisation of emergency funds.)
The White House press secretary John Deere said “While the Trump Administration continues its whole-of-government response to COVID-19, including safely opening up America again and expediting vaccine development, it is counter-productive to have the very individuals involved in those efforts appearing at Congressional hearings,”
If a system of oversight can be impeded by the body that it is overseeing, then there is no oversight. Why do we lie to ourselves about this? Why maintain the facade of ‘oversight’, ‘democracy‘ and ‘independent bodies’ when in reality there are no checks and there are no balances, when the members of the committees are chosen by those in power and only get to see what those in power want them to see?