Fast & Furious: Unexpected Progress

July 31st, 2014

Two years ago, Attorney General Eric Holder was held in contempt of Congress. At issue was his refusal to turn over documents crucial to the investigation of the ATF's disastrous Fast & Furious operation. The President invoked executive privilege and refused to turn over the information.

Shortly after, the website Judicial Watch made an Freedom of Information Act request for those documents. Nothing came of it, so they filed a lawsuit in September of 2012. That lawsuit was decided earlier this month by U.S. District Court Judge John Bates, who ruled that the Department of Justice must provide

10th Circuit Upholds Multiple Long Gun Reporting

July 28th, 2014

In 2011, the ATF began requiring dealers in Southwestern border states to report sales of multiple semiautomatic rifles to individual purchasers. The ATF doesn't have the authority to do this.* As such, the requirement has been challenged in the DC and 5th Circuit courts, but it was upheld in both instances.

Today, the 10th Circuit issued a ruling [pdf] affirming them.

Among the lovely chestnuts of wisdom was this:

A review of Project Gunrunner conducted by the Office of the Inspector General (“OIG”) indicates that tracing guns seized in Mexico can provide “crucial” information in gun-trafficking investigations

Fast & Furious: Censorship

October 8th, 2013

Special Agent John Dodson was on the ground during the initial stages of the ATF's botched Fast & Furious operation. When he came forward as a whistleblower, Arizona US Attorney Dennis Burke leaked an internal memo to the media in an attempt to discredit Dodson's testimony to Congress on the operation.

He has authored a book covering his experiences, but the Bureau is attempting to block publication. Their rationale is that it "would have a negative impact on morale in the Phoenix [Field Division] and would have a detrimental effect on our relationships with DEA and FBI."

Right. …

Fast & Furious: Aftershocks

July 7th, 2013

Jalisco chief of police Luis Astorga was shot to death by gang members in late January. The gun in used was a WASR-10, a cheap Romanian AK-47 sporter traced to Lone Wolf Gun supply in Arizona. In February of 2010, Lone Wolf sold it to Jacob Montelongo under the direction and supervision of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. Like over 2,000 other weapons sold during this operation, it would be lost, and it would later resurface at a crime scene in Mexico. The death toll in from these weapons is over 170 now.

I can only imagine …

Fast & Furious: More Contempt

March 17th, 2013

Last summer, Attorney General Eric Holder was held in contempt of Congress on the grounds that he stonewalled their investigation into the tragic Fast & Furious operation. The President invoked Executive Privilege in the matter, and it was effectively swept under the rug.

The President's action allows information to be withheld, but it doesn't make the contempt conviction go away. As a result, the Justice Department has been attempting to negotiate some sort of compromise on the matter.

Evidently, those talks aren't going very well. The most shocking thing about it is the very literal contempt Holder shows for Congress …

You See, It's a Long Story, But…

December 20th, 2012

You may remember George Gillett. He was second in charge of the BATFE Phoenix field division during the Fast & Furious operation. A congressional committee found that he "failed to provide responsible supervision" during that little fiasco, which is putting it mildly.

This last Thanksgiving, Mexican beauty queen Maria Flores Gamez and five others were killed in a shooting in Sinaola. Guns from Fast & Furious were found at the scene. Interestingly enough, one of those was an FN 5.7 pistol, which was traced directly back to Mr. Gillett. Now, by "directly," I …

Fast & Furious: Denouement

September 19th, 2012

The Office of the Inspector General has released its findings on the Fast & Furious debacle. The short version? Everybody short of Attorney General Eric Holder has egg on the face. The report finds that Holder himself was unaware of the operation until February of 2011.

In the wake of the report, former Acting Director Kenneth Melson announced his retirement, and Deputy Assistant Attorney General Jason Weinstein resigned. Aside from the ATF Phoenix division staff, he seems to bear the brunt of the investigation's ire.

And what of Holder? He fired back today about the "baseless accusations" leading to his contempt charge from Congress, and in the eyes of the public, he's right. The Democrats claimed that Issa's investigation was a partisan witch-hunt, and this report validates that assertion.

The report calls for a wide swath of disciplinary action, though I'm not expecting much. To this day, not a single government agent has been held responsible for Brian Terry's death.

I have the whole thing mirrored here [4Mb pdf]. Their findings start on page 440, and I've condensed them below.

Win Some, Lose Some

June 29th, 2012

The Supreme Court upheld the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) today. Let's do act like adults and call it by its proper name, rather than "Obamacare."

Do I agree with Roberts' decision? No, but here we are. Reaching back to 1895, he finds that

The elementary rule is that every reasonable construction must be resorted to in order to save a statute from unconstitutionality.

So, he went looking for a reason to uphold the individual mandate. In the end, he found it justified by virtue of being a tax, rather than doing so through a tortured reading of the …

Two Minutes to Midnight

June 20th, 2012

Hours before a vote in the House to hold the Attorney General in contempt of Congress, the President has invoked executive privilege as a reason not to turn over relevant documents. Whatever the reason, it only serves to make the administration look worse.

The obvious implication is that the President has something to hide that would be damaging if it were made public. Was there Oval Office involvement in Fast & Furious, or is Obama simply protecting a friend and political ally? Or does the guy just feel like throwing a cog into the works? In any case, it smacks of arrogance.

I guess we can forget about the whole doctrine of transparency this administration touted so vocally in its early stages.

Frowny Face for Holder

May 11th, 2012

The 2013 budget for the Department of Justice is up for review. During deliberations, Utah Representative Jason Chaffetz attached House Amendment 1068. The text of the amendment sounds like CSPAN on Valium:

An amendment to prohibit the use of funds used in contravention of paragraph (1), (2), or (3) of section 1001(a) of title 18, United State Code.

The code section in question is this,

(a) Except as otherwise provided in this section, whoever, in any matter within the jurisdiction of the executive, legislative, or judicial branch of the Government of the United States, knowingly and willfully—
(1) falsifies, conceals, or covers

Holder Contempt Charge: Now It's Official

May 3rd, 2012

Sharyl Attkisson reports that the draft of a contempt citation naming Eric Holder is being circulated to members of the House Oversight Committee today. The citation addresses the Attorney General's lack of cooperation in the investigation of Fast & Furious.

Resolved, That Eric H. Holder, Jr., Attorney General of the United States, shall be found to be in contempt of Congress for failure to comply with a congressional subpoena.

Resolved, That pursuant to 2 U.S.C. §§ 192 and 194, the Speaker of the House of Representatives shall certify the report of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, detailing the

Fast and Furious: Another Round

February 3rd, 2012

Attorney General Eric Holder testified before the House Oversight Committee again today. As with his previous appearances, we were treated to a litany of evasions and excuses. Long story short:  he doesn't know what's going on in his department, and he claims to have had no knowledge of any gunwalking operations prior to the death of Brian Terry.

It's been over a year since he promised an internal investigation, and he has yet to provide any explanation or any proof of action. Representative Labrador pointed out that Holder continues to show up for Congressional hearings unprepared, and that he seems oblivious to happenings at Justice. Representative Farenthold took it a step further, asking Holder, "knowing what you know, do you think you're qualified to lead the Department of Justice?"

Holder's response? "If you're going to ask me to resign (…) you've asked the wrong question."

I don't think we are.

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