WASHINGTON (AP) -- The General Accounting Office said Friday it may sue over the Bush White House's refusal to identify the business leaders who met with Vice President Dick Cheney and presidential aides to help formulate the administration's energy plan.
The GAO is completing discussions with key congressional leaders and is "preparing for possible litigation," the investigative arm of Congress said in a two-paragraph statement from Comptroller General David Walker.
"This is a very serious matter" that "involves several fundamental good government principles, including the right of the Congress to oversee the executive branch and the need for transparency and accountability," Walker said.
Going to court against the executive branch would be an unprecedented step for the legislative agency.
At the heart of a 4 1/2-month dispute over disclosure is how much influence corporate America had in the work of Cheney's task force. The panel announced a plan May 17 aimed at increasing the nation's supply of energy. It includes expanded oil and gas drilling on public land and a rejuvenated nuclear power system.
Environmental groups have complained that the Bush White House shut them out of the information-gathering process on the energy plan.
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