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U.S. House Oversight Committee Makes Case for Contempt of Congress in "Fast and Furious" Investigation

Friday, May 4, 2012

Back in February, U.S. Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) promised to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress if Holder didn't hand over Justice Department documents that had been subpoenaed as part of an ongoing investigation into the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives' now-infamous "Operation Fast and Furious" gun-walking operation.

This week, Rep. Issa--chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee--made good on the pledge and sent out a draft Contempt Order against Holder to members of the committee.  The document makes a case for holding the beleaguered U.S. Attorney General in contempt of Congress due to his ongoing refusal to cooperate with the investigation.  While not actually citing Holder with contempt, the document does establish grounds for the charge.

According to a release by the committee, the documents explain what happened in "Fast and Furious," the hardships faced by the family of murdered Border Patrol agent Brian Terry in getting truthful answers about his death, how whistle-blowers have faced retaliation for their actions, and the violent crime and narco-terrorism in Mexico that "Fast and Furious" has enabled.

"This briefing paper and draft contempt report explains the case, to both Members of the Committee and the American people, for holding Attorney General Holder in contempt of Congress," said Issa.  "In describing the results of the Justice Department's refusal to cooperate--including the hardships the family of a fallen Border Patrol agent have faced in seeking the truth, and retaliation against agents who blew the whistle on gunwalking--this briefing paper provides the facts, on which decisions will be made."

A Newsmax article reports that U.S. Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-Tex.), also a member of the committee, has asserted that Holder's Justice Department has been given every possible opportunity to cooperate with House and Senate probes, but has chosen not to.

"We are dealing with a specific instance here of the Department of Justice not turning over thousands of pages of documents relating to the death of a border patrol agent and allowing over 2,000 guns to go from the United States into Mexico in violation of both United States and Mexican law.  And nobody is willing, in the Justice Department, to work with us," Farenthold said.

"They go after anybody who is a whistleblower. They stonewall at every turn.  It is absolutely unacceptable behavior from one branch of government to the other."

NRA-ILA has already reported on how the Obama Administration has endangered lives to justify gun control in the case of "Fast and Furious."  The Newsmax article goes on to report that Farenthold, too, believes "Fast and Furious" could have been a set‑up to increase gun control laws.  "There are a couple of options as I see it.  One: there are some incompetent folks there.  The other, more scary, one for me is 'was there any sort of agenda,' Farenthold said."

"One of the results of Operation Fast and Furious was a change in regulatory schemes, that without an Act of Congress, the BATFE now requires gun dealers in border states to file reports on multiple sales of certain types of weapons.  So if I were to go out and buy my wife and two daughters a long gun, I would be reported as a possible straw buyer.  We are taking away people's Second Amendment rights by executive fiat.  Was this the plan all along?  That is something the American people need to know."

It is clear that the established policy of the Obama Justice Department and Attorney General Holder is to deny Congress and the American people the truth about “Fast and Furious.”  Hopefully, Rep Issa's continued efforts to seek the truth will yield results.

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NRA ILA

Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.