Our Federal Government saw an historic move this week, as the House Oversight Committee voted to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress. This vote was related to the “Fast and Furious” scandal.
Here’s my best attempt to sum up “Fast and Furious”. The US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms has been working undercover for years to gain intel in the Mexican Drug War. Part of this undercover intel is to run with the gangs, and that type of information gathering also involves exchanging of drugs, and guns. So yes, the United States Government has knowingly placed working guns in the hands of Mexican Drug operatives (and probably lots of other nations as well). These guns are then traced to follow the moves of the drug operatives. This exchange, known as “gun walking” was started by the Bush Administration in 2006. President Obama and his administration continued it.
In December of 2010, one of these operations failed, and hundreds of the guns were lost. Border Patrol agent Brian Terry was murdered by a gun linked to this botched operation.
So here’s the disconnect… the congressional hearings, which have now taken place over 11 months, have not been about the murder of Brian Terry, but instead focused mostly on Attorney General Eric Holder. After all, the leader of the Phoenix ATF division directly oversaw the operation, but only delivered testimony to Congress once. AG Holder just completed his ninth testimony to Congress regarding this matter. And after all of those testimonies, and the release of over 7600 documents, chairman Darrell Issa held Mr. Holder in contempt. Of course Mr. Issa claims to be only concerned about the gun-walking operation, but he wasn’t opposed to such things in 2008. The Daily Kos reports Congressman Issa voted for Project Gunrunner in 2008, eventhough during Mr. Holder’s hearings, he claims to know nothing about it. So he’s accusing the Attorney General for lying under oath, but he hasn’t been truthful himself? Hopefully the Left will take notice, and call Mr. Issa out for his hypocrisy.
Never before has a sitting AG been held in contempt of Congress. That’s the historic part.
But here are the things that happened this week that have become rather commonplace in today’s hostile Washington environment…
-The Republican-led House of Representatives didn’t pass any jobs bills
-The Republican-led House of Representatives used taxpayer money and Congressional resources on a matter that isn’t related to jobs.
-The Republican-led House of Representatives doesn’t like Obama
-The Republican-led House of Representatives staged a very dramatic vote that fell 23-17 along party lines.
-The Democratic House members questioned GOP motives and authority.
-The Republicans made political history in advancing Washington’s party divide.
How many times has this scenario played out in Washington since Obama was elected? We’ve already seen an historic number of Filibusters waged by the Senate GOP… so much so that Americans are now conditioned to believe that the Senate requires a 60-vote majority to pass legislation. No one should be surprised at the results here, but we should be unhappy. The GOP continues to “say” that jobs are their most important priority, but instead of focusing their time and energy on getting Americans back to work, they spend their time trying to persecute the Obama Administration. Even during yesterday’s hearing, a Democratic committee member tried to read a “cost estimate” for the hearings but was cut off. So the voting public is left to ask ourselves… How many school teachers could have been hired? How many more police and firefighters could be keeping our street and neighborhoods safe? How many more states could be given help in an extraordinarily difficult recovery to meet the needs of its citizens?
The murder of Mr. Terry is real. It happened, and his loved ones deserve to know the truth. But it doesn’t concern the United States Attorney General. The need of our Federal Government to have some operations take place in secret is also real. As the Executive Branch is charged to protect our nation, hundreds of thousands of employees “maintain secrets” everyday. It’s just a fact of life when you live in a world with people that are constantly trying to harm our nation. As Attorney General, many of those secrets are going to be seen by Mr. Holder, but that doesn’t automatically mean that he was directly involved. There is no reason for him to have wasted his time, resources and taxpayer money to prepare for copious inquiries for a situation which he wasn’t involved.
The rate at which Congressional Republicans are burning through our resouces? The only way to describe that is Fast and Frivolous.