Fast & Furious
Republicans would rather waste taxpayer money scoring political points than stop drug cartels.
Connect: We all agree Fast & Furious was a tragic failure.
Define them: But Republicans in Congress aren't investigating what went wrong. They're investigating if Obama Administration officials possibly said anything embarrassing after ending the Bush-era tactic.
Define Holder: Attorney General Eric Holder banned "gunwalking" and held those responsible accountable. Now he's shared over 7,000 internal agency documents with Congress and testified nine times.
Discredit: Republicans are still holding him in contempt because they claim he's not turning over every document he should. But those documents are internal communications from after the program ended.
Expose: The Republican politicians condemning President Obama's first use of Executive Privilege were the loudest defenders of President Bush when he used it six times.
Bottom line: No wonder Congress is so unpopular. Wasting taxpayer dollars trying to take down public officials instead of violent drug cartels.
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QUOTES TO REMEMBER
The Justice Dept. releasing internal documents in response to a "political witch hunt" is a mistake.
--Rep. Darrell Issa, now the GOP Chairman of the House oversight committee, in 2007, describing Democrats' request for internal Justice Dept. documents.
"Yeah, he's got a responsibility to protect executive privilege. That's just part of preserving the powers of the presidency."
--Mitt Romney, in 2007, on President Bush.
"...we have space on the calendar today for a politically charged fishing expedition. I think this is the height of irresponsibility. It is an insult to this House, and it is an insult to the American people."
"This action is unprecedented, and it is outrageous. It is also an incredible waste of time -- time the House should spend doing the American people's legislative business."
--Dana Perino, then Bush White House aide and now Fox News contributor, in 2008 on the contempt vote.
ATTACKS AND RESPONSES
ATTACK: "Obama is invoking executive privilege because he's hiding something."
- Republicans in Congress and their right-wing allies have some nerve criticizing President Obama for invoking executive privilege when they defended President Bush for doing the same thing.
- The Department of Justice has gone to extraordinary lengths to give Congressional Republicans what they're demanding, including turning over 7,600 internal documents on the Bush-era "gunwalking" tactic and having Holder testify before Congress nine times.
- But Republicans have been holding the Attorney General to an impossible standard -- demanding internal documents he's barred by law from releasing.
- Now they're demanding documents dated after Fast & Furious was shut down. So this isn't about finding out what went wrong -- it's about Republicans trying to see if Obama Administration officials possibly said anything embarrassing after the fact.
CONSPIRACY THEORY: "Fast & Furious was a political attack on our Second Amendment gun rights."
- Gun sales are up. The President hasn't pushed any gun legislation. Where's this evil plot against the Second Amendment?
- How does letting guns go missing in another country help advance some liberal gun agenda in the U.S.? That sounds like a far-fetched conspiracy theory because it is.
- Even the Republicans in Congress running the oversight committee say Fast & Furious was about letting guns be trafficked to track down higher-level criminals -- not about any Second Amendment agendas.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
- Fast & Furious was a failed sting operation in which the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) reportedly allowed guns to flow across the border as part of an attempt to take down a major Mexican drug cartel.
- This tactic of "gunwalking," in which agents knowingly allowed guns to be trafficked in order to identify higher-level members of the trafficking network, was reportedly used during the Bush Administration.
- The former head of ATF said that he never told senior officials at the Justice Dept. about gunwalking during Fast & Furious because he was unaware of it himself.
- Attorney General Eric Holder banned the gunwalking tactic for good and held those responsible accountable.
- The Department of Justice has gone to extraordinary lengths to give Congressional Republicans the documents they're demanding, including over 7,600 internal documents on the Bush-era gunwalking tactic.
- Even with respect to the Justice Dept.'s February 4, 2011, letter to Congress, which Republicans are zeroing in on because it was later retracted, the Dept. has turned over 1,300 pages of internal documents showing how it had been drafted.
- Rep. Issa is now demanding the Justice Dept. to release internal paperwork related to how the agency handled Congressional inquiries after February 4, 2011 -- after Fast & Furious ended.
- The Republican Member of Congress running the House oversight committee's Fast & Furious investigation, Rep. Darrell Issa, vowed to go after President Obama even before he took over the committee.
- Rep. Issa admits that he has no evidence that the White House or Attorney General Holder was involved with Fast & Furious.
- Rep. Issa actually turned down the Attorney General's offer to provide more internal documents, but is now seeking an unprecedented vote of contempt against him for not turning over more internal documents.
- The Congressional Republicans running the oversight committee have refused all Democratic requests for witnesses and hearings throughout the 16-month investigation, even a request to hold a hearing with the former head of ATF.
- Congress's approval rating is down around 17%, and the public's confidence in Congress ranks dead last among institutions in American society.
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Posted in - Guns - Judiciary