Dana Rohrabacher, Freelance Diplomat, To Investigate Obama State Department
Should be fun.
Thanks to Wikileaks, we also learned this week about Rohrabacher's freelance diplomatic mission to Honduras, during which he met with officials who seized power in a 2009 coup and took positions contrary to U.S. policy.
Press reports suggest there's something unusual or improper about that, but it's certainly not unusual for Rohrabacher. For a long time, he has traveled the globe and said pretty much whatever he wants.
In Honduras, Rohrabacher had nothing but praise for the right-wing government that deposed President Manuel Zelaya in a bloodless 2009 coup. From the State Department cable:
Throughout his visit, Congressman Rohrabacher stressed his great admiration for the commitment of the Honduran people to democracy. He warned of the danger of allowing "caudillos" or strongmen, like Cuban President Fidel Castro and Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, to assume control and praised the recently replaced Honduran de facto regime.He also met with members of the Supreme Court, which legitimized the coup, and parted ways with official U.S. policy:
[H]e congratulated the Supreme Court for its actions in removing President Jose Manuel "Mel" Zelaya from office. He urged the Government of Honduras to eschew establishing a "truth commission," asserting that the "Supreme Court is the truth commission" and that any further investigation into the events of the summer would result in continued political division and animosity in the country.For this, Rohrabacher has been accused of undermining U.S. policy. It should be noted that the Hondurans ignored Rohrabacher's advice and went ahead with the commission, which continues to meet and is expected to issue a report next year.
Rohrabacher also has taken heat for pitching a Honduran official on a biofuels project on behalf of a friend and contributor. But that has so far gone nowhere as well.
He also gave some advice about how to attract foreign investment.
The Congressman said one way that Honduras could attract innovators would be to make income derived from patents and copyrights tax-free.The cable doesn't say how the Hondurans responded to that, but you can guess their response was the equivalent of an eye roll.
Presumably the Hondurans know that Rohrabacher is only one vote among 435, and that as a Republican, he doesn't have much pull with a Democratic administration. (He didn't have much pull with George W. Bush either, but that's another story.)
You do get the sense that no matter how minor Rohrabacher's role is, the State Department does not appreciate his help, and the animosity certainly runs both ways.
Now that Rohrabacher is taking over the Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, that animosity should come to full flower.