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CNN BREAKING NEWS

Lawsuit Dismissed Against Cheney Energy Task Force

Aired December 9, 2002 - 14:16   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: A bit of breaking news right now, this just in to CNN that a federal judge has dismissed the GAO's lawsuit against Vice President Dick Cheney. You remember the lawsuit that was pending with regard to his energy task force.
We're going to go back to Jonathan Karl. He's on the Hill to update us on this and give us a little background information to remind us about what it's all about -- Jon.

JONATHAN KARL, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Kyra, this is a significant development, because this was a major showdown between two branches of Congress. The Government Accounting Office, which is the investigative arm of the Congress, led by David Walker who is actually a Republican appointee, had sued the vice president to get access to names of people that had consulted him in the crafting of the president's energy policy. So, there was a showdown.

Cheney said that this was confidential information that the president had every right to accept, to get advice from expert advisers in confidence and not reveal those names. The GAO wanted the names to see who was influencing the president and his energy policy.

The judge had rejected this lawsuit, has thrown it out. The judge is U.S. District Judge John Bates. What's interesting about this is he is also an appointee of President Bush. You're sure to hear Democrats complain about this and raise this question.

As far as the General Accounting Office and David Walker, the head of the Government Accounting Office, they have -- they are looking at this decision, and they have not decided whether or not to appeal it. They could elect to continue this legal challenge, continue this constitutional showdown with an appeal, but they are still looking at the decision to see if that's the course of action they want to take.

PHILLIPS: All right, we'll continue to follow the story. Jonathan Karl from our Washington bureau, thank you so much.

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