Rep. Rahm Emanuel has ginned up a clever, aggressive attempt to challenge the shadow government that Dick Cheney has set up in the office of the vice presidency. The OVP says they’re not totally part of the executive branch, so Emanuel says they shouldn’t get the money earmarked for the executive branch. Seems reasonable enough.

If you think that “shadow government” is an exaggeration, it’s worth noting that the inspiration for Emanuel’s move is the OVP’s unwillingness to cooperate with a 2003 executive order requiring all agencies and the executive branch to protect classified data. The OVP says they don’t have to comply because they’re part executive and part legislative (since the veep is the president of the Senate), and thus “unique.” They’re doing a half-assed job of explaining this, mostly because it’s bullshit. And aside from basic questions of law, the OVP has a poor record of dealing with classified material, having seen two of its employees convicted of felonies in cases dealing with leaks. 

Todd Gitlin suggests some ways to support Rep. Emanuel. The Washington Post also has a great series which provides a more general background of the OVP’s machinations over the past several years.