What Difference Does It Make?

As the media covers the fact that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has finally agreed to hand over her computer server to the Justice Department, let’s back up a minute and look at the history of Secretary Clinton and her server.

On March 30, Byron York posted a story at The Washington Examiner that included the following:

The subpoena story began on Sept. 20, 2012, nine days after the attacks. Rep. Jason Chaffetz, who was chairman of the House Oversight Committee’s Subcommittee on National Security, Homeland Defense and Foreign Operations, sent a letter to then-Secretary of State Clinton asking for “all information … related to the attack on the consulate.” Chaffetz specifically asked for all analyses, whether classified or unclassified, on the security situation leading up to the Benghazi attack, plus, among other things, all analyses that either supported or contradicted UN Ambassador Susan Rice’s assertion that the attack was the spontaneous result of outrage over an anti-Muslim video. The short version of the letter was that Chaffetz demanded “all information” on Benghazi.

Just to be clear, the Chaffetz letter included standard language telling Clinton, “In complying with this request, you are required to produce all responsive documents that are in your possession, custody, or control, whether held by you or your past or present agents, employees, and representatives acting on your behalf.”

…The routine got old fast. Republicans (and Democrats, for that matter) couldn’t copy the documents and couldn’t use them at hearings. Chaffetz and Rep. Darrell Issa, then the chairman of the full Oversight and Government Reform Committee, became frustrated. In response to their protests, the State Department stressed that it had made all the relevant documents available, even if under restrictive conditions. State has “provided Congress with access to documents, comprising over 25,000 pages to date, including communications of senior Department officials regarding the security situation in Benghazi,” State official Thomas Gibbons wrote to Issa on March 29, 2013.

That did nothing to quiet Republican unhappiness. The problem came to a head on Aug. 1, 2013, when the committee issued a subpoena to the State Department. (It was officially directed to new Secretary of State John Kerry.)

Note that the date of the subpoena was August 1, 2013–more than two years ago.

Yesterday The New York Post posted a story that included the following:

Security experts warned Wednesday that the chances of recovering deleted information from Hillary Rodham Clinton’s home e-mail server are slim — unless she did a lousy scrubbing job.

“Being the fact that this is Hillary Clinton with significant resources and a reputation to uphold, I would say that those who are seeking out additional information on the servers … would have a very difficult time finding something,” Robert Siciliano, an online-security expert, told The Post.

When items are deleted they still leave a trace — or “bread crumbs,” as ­Siciliano put it — but a skilled person doing the deleting can ensure that fewer crumbs are left to recreate the missing documents.

Does anyone really believe that the Justice Department is going to uphold the law in regard to Secretary Clinton? This case will be a litmus case to see if President Obama actually supports the presidential candidacy of Hillary Clinton. I suspect the President Obama does not want Hillary Clinton to become President, but I also suspect he has seen the list of people who have opposed the Clintons in the past and faced severe consequences. Watching this unfold will be extremely educational to all of us.

Unfortunately Both Political Parties Are Involved In Benghazi

The Republicans control the House of Representatives and the Senate. Therefore,it should be easy to investigate what happened at Benghazi, despite the fact that the Democrats involved are experts at stonewalling. Well, new information that has come to light indicates that part of the problem with the investigation may be that there are also Republicans involved that would like to keep the details of what happened at Benghazi secret.

On Thursday, The Daily Caller posted an article about some new information that has come out as a result of the emails that are finally getting released.

The article reports:

Perhaps most intriguing in the recent email batch is a one-line note to Mrs. Clinton from a top advisor, Deputy Chief of Staff Jake Sullivan. The subject of the September 10, 2011 email is simply “Rogers.” The note in its entirety reads: “Apparently wants to see you to talk Libya/weapons.”

“Rogers” is then-House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers, a Republican. The email was unearthed at the deep end of the document dump and first noted in a piece by Catherine Herridge and Pamela Browne of Fox News.

Chairman Rogers and other GOP House committee chairman spent a good deal of time opposing the formation of the Benghazi Select Committee. As Eli Lake reported last year, Rogers “warned his colleagues” about the committee. Lake reported that “the chairmen of the House Intelligence, Armed Services, and Government Reform committees — Reps. Rogers, Buck McKeon, and Darrell Issa, respectively — all opposed the formation of a select committee on Benghazi.”

The story goes on to detail the connection between Representative Rogers and his wife and Benghazi. In 2014, Representative Rogers abruptly resigned from the House of Representative. About the same time his wife left an executive position at Aegis Defense Services, a private defense contractor. This may be totally coincidental, but it illustrates one thing–America has developed a political class that sometimes puts its personal interests ahead of the interests of our country. That is a major problem in our government right now.

Please follow the link above to The Daily Caller to read the entire story. This story is one more example of why term limits are a good idea. There seems to be something in the water in Washington that makes people compromise the principles they claimed to have before they got there. Maybe if we limit their terms of office, the effect of the water will be minimal.

We owe a debt to Representative Trey Gowdy for continuing this investigation despite opposition from his own party.

Should We Take Up A Collection To Buy The Federal Government New Computers?

The Blaze posted a story today about another federal government agency whose hard drive crashed in the middle of an investigation by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. This is getting comical.

The hard drive in question belongs to April Sands, a former employee at the Federal Election Commission who resigned in the spring after admitting to violations of the Hatch Act. The Hatch Act limits political activities of federal employees, specifically prohibiting them from engaging in political activity while on the job or from government offices.

The article reports:

Issa (Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.)) noted that while Sands admitted to violating the law, the FEC just recently told Congress that it could not recover her hard drive, which made it impossible to seek criminal charges against her.

“Recent information obtained by the committee suggests that the FEC OIG could not pursue criminal prosecution for the misconduct because the attorney’s hard drive had been recycled by the FEC,” Issa’s letter said.

As a result, Issa asked the FEC to provide information to his committee by July 28. That includes all documents related to the hard drive loss, and documents detailing the FEC’s practices for retaining information on computers.

The FEC is an independent agency, but Sands’ emails clearly indicated she favored Obama’s re-election in 2012. Before the election, she tweeted things like:

“Our #POTUS’s birthday is August 4. He’ll be 51. I’m donating at least $51 to give him the best birthday present ever: a second term.” In another tweet, she said anyone supporting Republicans is her “enemy.”

“The bias exhibited in these messages is striking, especially for an attorney charged with the responsibility to enforce federal election laws fairly and dispassionately,” Issa wrote.

The article includes a letter written by Issa to Federal Election Commission Chairman Lee E. Goodman, which shows some of the tweets sent by April Sands during regular work hours. There is also a document showing how and when information requested by the Oversight Committee was to be submitted. Unfortunately, because of the computer crash that information seems to be lost.

The federal government would probably have fewer computer crashes if there were more honest people in the current administration.

An Obvious Problem With The House Oversight Investigation Into The IRS Scandal

Katie Pavlich posted an article at Townhall.com today that may explain why the House Oversight Committee was having so much trouble getting information on the IRS targeting of conservative groups prior to the 2010 election. It seems that there was someone on the Committee who was undermining the investigation.

The article reports:

Chairman of the House Oversight Committee Darrell Issa, along with five Subcommittee Chairmen are demanding Cummings (Democratic Ranking Member Elijah Cummings) provide an explanation for the staff inquiries to the IRS about True the Vote and for his denial that his staff ever contacted the IRS about the group.

“Although you have previously denied that your staff made inquiries to the IRS about conservative organization True the Vote that may have led to additional agency scrutiny, communication records between your staff and IRS officials – which you did not disclose to Majority Members or staff – indicates otherwise,” the letter to Cummings states. “As the Committee is scheduled to consider a resolution holding Ms. Lerner, a participant in responding to your communications that you failed to disclose, in contempt of Congress, you have an obligation to fully explain your staff’s undisclosed contacts with the IRS.”

Evidently Lois Lerner, former head of tax exempt groups at the IRS, was feeding Cummings information about True the Vote, one of the groups the IRS was targeting. Cummings was not sharing this information with the Committee.

The article reports:

On January 31, Paz (Holly Pazl Lerners’ deputy) sent True the Vote’s 990 forms to Cumming’s staff.

Up until this point, Rep. Cummings has denied his staff ever contacted the IRS about True the Vote and their activities during Oversight hearings. In fact, on February 6, 2014 during a Subcommittee hearing where Engelbrecht testified, Cummings vehemently denied having any contact or coordination in targeting True the Vote when attorney Cleta Mitchell, who is representing the group, indicated staff on the Committee had been involved in communication with the IRS.

It is becoming very obvious that some of the Democrats in Congress have forgotten not only their Oath of Office, but also their basic ethics. The actions of Representative Cummings are truly deplorable. It is becoming obvious that his intention was to end this investigation before it began. I hope that Congressman Issa will continue his search for the truth and that the people who attempted to use the IRS for political purposes will be brought to justice.

 

Enhanced by Zemanta

The IRS Scandal Summed Up In One Paragraph

Yesterday’s Washington Examiner summed up the IRS scandal in one paragraph:

These simple questions – each based on indisputable facts – establish that somebody outside of the IRS told her they wanted the tax agency to “fix” something involving groups seeking 501(c)(4) tax status, that she directed subordinates to begin a (c)(4) project she feared could be seen as “political,” that she viewed Tea Party groups as “dangerous,” and that she ordered that such groups be subjected to “multi-level review.” Those are the four essential points of the IRS scandal: Who ordered the tax agency to get involved, who in the tax agency responded, who they targeted and what actions they took. She cannot answer these questions because, as she herself has claimed, that would be incriminating. Lerner and others must hope Issa doesn’t already have the answers.

Enhanced by Zemanta

A Short And Sensible Piece Of Legislation From The House Of Representatives

The website of the House Committee on Oversight & Government Reform posted an article today about a bill introduced into the House of Representatives by Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) that would implement a modified six-day delivery schedule for the U. S. Postal Service and repeal reductions in military pensions made by the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013.

The article reports:

“This legislation will restore Cost-of-Living Adjustments for our military retirees and not only replace the savings but nearly triple them– saving $17 billion over 10 years according to conservative USPS estimates,” said Chairman Issa.  “This common sense reform will help restore the cash-strapped Postal Service to long-term solvency and is supported by the President and key Congressional leaders in both chambers.”

USPS is forced to deliver paper mail, like bills and advertisements, six days a week by an unfunded mandate included in annual appropriations legislation. If the mandate is lifted, the Postmaster General has announced that USPS would modify its current delivery schedule to deliver packages 6 days a week and paper mail 5 days a week. Express and priority mail delivery would not change, and post offices would remain open on Saturdays.

Chairman Issa recently outlined the benefits of ending the unfunded mandate in a letter to House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R-Ky.)

The text of the bill can be found at Congress.gov.

Thank  you, Representative Issa.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Six????

Oversighthouse.gov reported yesterday that the enrollment numbers in ObamaCare are not good.

The website reported:

WASHINGTON – House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., today released new HealthCare.gov meeting notes stating that as of 10/2/2013, there were “248 enrollments.” According to meeting notes from the day before, “6 enrollments have occurred so far with 5 different issuers.”

The numbers come from notes taken during “War Room” meetings at the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance (CCIIO), part of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) tasked with implementing ObamaCare. The meetings were comprised of Administration officials and contractors discussing the standing issues and problems with the disastrous launch of HealthCare.gov.

The first set of notes, taken the morning of October 2nd, states, “6 enrollments have occurred so far with 5 different issuers… Issuers include BCBS NC, BCBS Kansas City, and CareSource. Healthcare Service Corporation had the 2 enrollments.”

At the next meeting held the afternoon of October 2nd, the notes add that “[a]pproximately 100 enrollments have happened as of this meeting.”

At the morning meeting held October 3rd, the notes say that “[as] of yesterday, there were 248 enrollments.”

The website provides a link to some of the meetings concerning ObamaCare. I really do wonder what the future of this program will be. It obviously is not providing healthcare for the majority of uninsured people in America. It seems as if it is only responsible for causing those people who were already insured to lose their health insurance.

Enhanced by Zemanta

A Chilling Thought

On Friday, John Fund posted a very interesting article at the National Review Online. The article deals with the behavior of the National Park Rangers during the shutdown. On Wednesday the House Oversight Committee began an investigation into that behavior.

The article reports a very obvious question asked by Representative Trey Gowdy of South Carolina:

Gowdy wanted to know why Jarvis had allowed “pot-smoking” Occupy Wall Street protesters to camp overnight illegally in Washington’s McPherson Square park for 100 days, yet put up barricades to keep veterans out of war memorials on the first day of the shutdown. By not issuing a single citation to the Occupy campers, Gowdy argued, the Park Service was treating them better than the nation’s military veterans. “Can you cite me the regulation that required you to erect barricades from accessing a monument that they built?” he demanded.

…Representative Darrell Issa was equally stern with Jarvis, noting that, since the Park Police weren’t furloughed during the shutdown, “an open-air monument was guarded by the same number of people to prevent Americans from getting in as would allow them to safely go in and out.”

The article goes on to list some of the more bizarre closings during the government shutdown. Please follow the link above to read the list.

The article concludes:

But now that the shutdown is over, it’s important for Chairman Issa and others to figure out how it was manipulated politically. Because if the Park Service can become a pawn in the Obama administration’s political wars, does anyone doubt that the integrity of other even more vital agencies wouldn’t be at risk in any future budget showdown?

The fact that the signs closing the parks appeared so rapidly (have you ever tried to get the government to do anything quickly?) and the way the Park Rangers behaved convinces me that this was a planned event by the Obama Administration. Frankly I think the shutdown was used to manipulate the American people, and we fell for it. Hopefully many of us will begin to ask why the Park Rangers followed the orders to make the shutdown uncomfortable for average Americans and how the signs appeared so quickly. I think we were played as fools.

 

 

Enhanced by Zemanta

Something Is Wrong With This Picture

Yesterday the Washington Free Beacon reported that a report by the inspector general of the Department of Energy shows that a top legal official was advising the human resources people at the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) on how to implement hiring practices that put veterans at a disadvantage. When two employees at BPA questioned the hiring practices, the BPA attempted to remove them from service.

The article reports:

The report reinforces criticism of BPA by congressional investigators, who in August held a hearing investigating similar allegations from the department’s IG.

“Today’s report offers shocking new details about the Bonneville Power Administration’s illegal hiring practices that discriminated against veterans and the agency’s culture of intimidation toward whistleblowers,” said Rep. Darrell Issa (R., Calif.), chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said in a statement.

According to the report, a staff attorney at Bonneville “provided guidance that likely facilitated” hiring practices that disadvantaged veterans.

Federal regulations require that veterans receive preferential treatment in federal hiring.

During an investigation into what was happening, employees of BPA were not willing to speak before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee because they were afraid of losing their jobs.

Does anyone see a pattern here?

Enhanced by Zemanta

When Government Becomes A Bully

Today is the day that the House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Government Reform holds hearings to try to find the root of the problems at the Internal Revenue Service. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is supposed to be a non-political organization that collects taxes from Americans. Unfortunately under President Obama, it seems that the IRS has become a political organization used to silence political opponents.

The Weekly Standard posted an article today listing some of the problems within the IRS and the Obama Administration that have recently been revealed.

The article reports:

Career IRS employees have testified on Capitol Hill that the federal agency’s chief counsel played a part in the scandal of targeting conseratives, the House Ways and Means Committee announced today in a press release. As a result, House Ways and Means Committee chair Dave Camp, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee chair Darrell Issa, Ways and Means Subcommittee chair Charles Boustany Jr, and Oversight Subcommittee chair Jim Jordan have sent a letter to the IRS requesting “new documents related to IRS employee discussions about the 2010 election, the Citizens United Supreme Court decision, and the tax-exempt status of Tea Party groups,” a press release announces.

The Citizens United Supreme Court decision essentially leveled the playing field in terms of funding political campaigns. Before that decision, the unions had pretty much provided an unmatched, never-ending flow of money into Democrat campaign coffers. The blocking of Tea Party tax-exempt applications limited the amount of money the Tea Party would be able to put into the campaigns of conservative candidates. The Obama political machine needed to prevent the Tea Party from funding candidates that would not be in line with the objectives of the Obama Administration.

The politicization of the IRS is a danger to our representative republic. If the group in power can limit the funds available to their opponents, they can stay in power. Whether we like it or not, money is a very important part of American elections. Money pays for the advertisements that explain the views of the candidates on various issues. If you cut the funds of one candidate, you limit his ability to get his message out.

Hopefully, at the end of these hearings, those people responsible for the mistreatment of conservative organizations will face the full legal consequences of their actions.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Testimony From An Internal Revenue Employee In Cincinnati

Breitbart.com posted an article today showing testimony from one of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) employees interviewed by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. The article shows testimony from a Cincinnati IRS employee. I strongly suggest that you follow the link above and read the entire transcript.

The key exchange goes something like this:

Q: So what do you think about this, that allegation has been made, I think as you have seen in lots of press reports, that there were two rogue agents in Cincinnati that are sort of responsible for all of the issues that we have been talking about today.  What do you think about those allegations?

[…]

A:  It’s impossible.  As an agent we are controlled by many, many people.  We have to submit many, many reports.  So the chance of two agents being rogue and doing things like that could never happen.

The article concludes:

The Oversight Committee will be conducting hearings this week focusing on the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration report on excessive IRS conference spending and abuses of taxpayer dollars. Chairman Issa sent a letter to then-IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman in April, 2012 regarding the agency’s bloated spending habits. According to the Committee, the IRS spent $50 million on at least 220 conferences between 2010 and 2012.

Anyone who has ever dealt with “low-level” government employees knows that their authority is limited. There is usually a procedures manual that they have to follow to do anything. There is no way a “low-level” employee could create the havoc that was created in the tax-exempt division of the IRS. Orders had to come from higher up. The question at hand is how much higher up.

Note that the problem began in 2010 after the passage of ObamaCare and as the Tea Party was gaining strength. The Democrats saw the threat and dealt with it–illegally, but they did deal with it. If the Democrats were as quick and efficient in dealing with the financial problems of America, America would no longer have financial problems!

Enhanced by Zemanta

Sometimes It’s Hard To Imagine How Some People Think

Yesterday the Washington Examiner reported that Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has suggested that military pay be cut in order to help with the budget cuts facing the Pentagon due to sequestration. This suggestion comes after President Obama signed an executive order raising the salary of Vice President Joe Biden and other federal officials.

The article reports:

“The President’s pay hike even increases the salary for federal employees who receive poor performance reviews from their own supervisors,” House Oversight and Government Reform Committee chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., said when a group of lawmakers proposed legislation to reverse the pay increase. “As President Obama continues to say one thing and do another on deficit spending, it is appropriate for Congress to challenge his unilateral decision to spend $11 billion on non-merit based pay raises for federal workers.”

Secretary Panetta suggested that military salaries be limited to a one percent increase in 2014.

This is simply disgusting.

Enhanced by Zemanta

It’s The Spending–Not The Taxes

On Friday Representative Darrell Issa posted an editorial in the Washington Times about the current fiscal cliff debate in Washington.

He begins the article with some recent history on American tax policy:

Twenty-six years ago, President Reagan implemented significant tax reforms that lowered the individual income tax rate, limited deductions and brought equality to tax rates across all levels. Before that reform, there had been 15 different marginal tax rates reaching levels as high as 50 percent for top brackets. By the time Reagan left office, the number of brackets had been reduced to two: 15 percent and 28 percent.

In 1993, President Clinton raised the top two income rates to 36 percent and 39.6 percent while also raising the corporate tax rate, increasing the taxable portion of Social Security benefits and increasing income taxable for Medicare. This is what has become known as the “Clinton tax rates.”

In 2001, President George W. Bush changed the rate from 39.6 percent to 35 percent, lowered the capital gains and dividend income rates, and expanded credits and deductions such as the Child Tax Credit and the Earned Income Tax Credit.

The current discussions in Congress are centered on the idea of raising taxes–not on cutting spending. What would be the impact of raising taxes on the rich?

Representative Issa points out:

If you raised taxes on the top income bracket, you would generate around $1 trillion over 10 years. The past four years under President Obama have resulted in trillion-dollar deficits each year. At this rate, in 10 years we’re looking at $10 trillion in new debt. At best, the “tax-the-rich” proposal is just a 10 percent solution.

Government spending has traditionally been about 18 to 20 percent of America’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Under President Obama, it has been about 24%. Since tax revenue is about 18% of GDP for year, the source of the deficit is obvious. Even when taxes are raised, tax revenue remains about 18% of GDP.

Representative Issa concludes:

The other side tries to boil this down into a seven-second sound bite about taxing the rich and people paying their fair share. In 2009, the top 10 percent of earners in the United States already paid more than 70 percent of federal income taxes.

This isn’t about fairness and unfairness. It’s about taxing and spending, and the federal government has spent enough.

The federal government collects more tax money from all Americans than the Medieval lords collected from the serfs. It really is time for that to stop.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Appearance vs Security

Katie Pavlich at Townhall.com posted an article today about some of the recent comments made about the attack on the American Embassy in Benghazi.

The article explains:

Last week during congressional testimony from State Department officials who were on the ground in Libya, we heard over and over again that more security for the consulate in Benghazi was requested but denied. We also heard repeatedly from Democrats, including Ranking Member of the House Oversight Committee Elijah Cummings, claiming a lack of funding was at fault for less security in Benghazi during the time of the attack on 9/11 that left four Americans dead. State Department officials said funding had nothing to do with the situation and now, Chairman Darrell Issa has revealed the State Department is sitting on $2 billion for consulate security, but won’t spend it.

From a common sense perspective, this makes no sense, but the rationale is explained later in the article:

Issa (Rep. Darrell Issa , Chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee) claims the State Department will not spend the already approved funds because they didn’t want to the appearance of needing increased security.

“The fact is, they [the State Department.] are making the decision not to put the security in because they don’t want the presence of security,” Issa said. “That is not how you do security.”

Four people are dead because the Obama Administration valued appearances more than they valued security.

Enhanced by Zemanta

The Smoking Gun In Fast And Furious

Roll Call has the full story on this, but since the story is the headline on the DRUDGE REPORT, it is pretty near impossible to get onto their site. I am hoping to be able to do that later tonight.

However, the Washington Times has just posted a related story.

The article at the Washington Times reports:

Rep. Darrell Issa managed to push the details of a secret wiretap application from the botched “Fast and Furious” gunwalking operation into the public domain this week when he entered summaries into the Congressional Record, apparently using Congress‘ protection under the speech and debate clause to get around legal boundaries.

The summary of a March 2010 wiretap application shows that federal agents repeatedly lost track of guns they knew were being trafficked back to cartels in Mexico — a violation of Justice Department policy that should have raised red flags with top department officials who signed off on the wiretaps, said Mr. Issa, California Republican and chairman of the oversight committee that is looking into the operation.

Meanwhile, Fox News is reporting today:

The contempt vote technically opened the door for the House to call on the U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia to bring the case before a grand jury. But because U.S. Attorney Ronald Machen works for Holder and because President Obama has already asserted executive privilege over the documents in question, some expected Holder’s Justice Department to balk. 

Deputy Attorney General James Cole confirmed in a letter to House Speaker John Boehner that the department in fact would not pursue prosecution. The attorney general’s withholding of documents pertaining to Operation Fast and Furious, he wrote, “does not constitute a crime.” 

“Therefore the department will not bring the congressional contempt citation before a grand jury or take any other action to prosecute the attorney general,” Cole wrote, in the letter obtained by Fox News

The fix is in. The goal is to keep the investigation from going anywhere until after November. The only way the American people will ever get the facts on this is to make known to Congress that they feel that Congress should take its oversight responsibilities seriously. Fast and Furious was a government program that killed people. This is not politics–it is about the honesty and transparency of our Department of Justice.

UPDATE:

This is a quote from the Roll Call article:

It also described how ATF officials watched guns bought by suspected straw purchasers but then ended their surveillance without interdicting the guns.

In at least one instance, the guns were recovered at a police stop at the U.S.-Mexico border the next day.

The application included financial details for four suspected straw purchasers showing they had purchased $373,000 worth of guns in cash but reported almost no income for the previous year, the letter says.

“Although ATF was aware of these facts, no one was arrested, and ATF failed to even approach the straw purchasers. Upon learning these details through its review of this wiretap affidavit, senior Justice Department officials had a duty to stop this operation. Further, failure to do so was a violation of Justice Department policy,” the letter says.

Holder declined to discuss the contents of the applications at a House Judiciary Committee hearing June 7 but said the applications were narrowly reviewed for whether there was probable cause to obtain a wiretap application.

This operation should have ended before it began.

Enhanced by Zemanta

The Letter Behind The Contempt Of Congress Charge

Yesterday the Daily Caller posted a story explaining exactly what document Congress is seeking from Attorney General Eric Holder that he is unwilling to give them.

The article reports:

During the June 24 broadcast of Fox News Sunday, House oversight committee chairman Rep. Darrell Issa cited the email as a “good example” of a specific document his committee knows Holder is hiding from Congress.

“The ATF director, Kenneth Melson, sent an e-mail. And he had said to us in sworn testimony that, in fact, he had concerns,” Issa said. “And we want to see that e-mail because that’s an example where he was saying, if we believe his sworn testimony, that guns walked. And he said it shortly after February 4, and [on] July 4. When he told us that, we began asking for that document.”

But the details of it surfaced first when Grassley mentioned it for the first time publicly during a June 12 Senate Judiciary Committee hearing where Holder was testifying.

“He [Melson] immediately sent an email warning others, ‘back off the letter to Sen. Grassley in light of the information in the affidavits,’” Grassley explained.

It seems as if there has been some serious untruth telling before Congress during the investigation of Operation Fast and Furious. Congress is well within its authority and responsibility to investigate what happened in Operation Fast and Furious that resulted in the deaths of two Border Patrol agents and many Mexicans. It would be nice if the Justice Department would co-operate with the investigation. Obviously, they will not. A contempt citation may be the only logical next step for the Congressional committee investigating Fast and Furious. The Executive Branch does not seem to be willing to provide the information requested when asked nicely.

 

Enhanced by Zemanta

Friday Night’s Document Dump

Yesterday the Daily Caller posted an article on the latest Friday night document dump by the White House.

The article reports:

Republican Rep. Darrell Issa, chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, has subpoenaed 80,000 pages of documents concerning Fast and Furious. Holder has only provided about 7,000 pages. He has, however, given all 80,000 to his internal investigator — DOJ’s Office of Inspector General.

Attorney General Holder has no problem letting the foxes within the Department of Justice guard the chicken coop, he is just concerned that if the House Committee sees the documents, they might actually do something about what they contain.

Terry Frieden of CNN reported that of the hundreds (not thousands) of pages produced by the Justice Department, few of them are actually related to Fast and Furious. Most of the documents released deal with an incident in 2007, which the Democrats on the Committee are attempting to use to change the subject.

The article reports:

According to congressional Democrats on the House oversight committee, in the “Hernandez case” ATF agents, working with Mexican police, planned to track illegal weapons as they left the United States all the way to their final destination. But Mexican police reported they never saw the vehicle that ATF agents had followed to the border.
 
It is time for the Justice Department and the White House to come clean and release the whole mess to the House Committee. The American people are entitled to know what the truth is regarding Operation Fast and Furious. How many Americans and Mexicans have to be murdered before Operation Fast and Furious is investigated and those responsible dealt with?

 

Enhanced by Zemanta

Sometimes It’s What They Don’t Say

Ed Morrissey at Hot Air noted in a post today that Patrick J. Cunningham, the chief of the Criminal Division of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Arizona, has said that he will seek Fifth Amendment protection when testifying before Congress.

Representative Darrell Issa, who is chairman of the House Oversight Committee conducting the investigation into Operation Fast and Furious, made the following statement in response to Mr. Cunningham’s claim that he would plead the Fifth Amendment:

 “The assertion of the fifth amendment by a senior Justice official is a significant indictment of the Department’s integrity in Operation Fast and Furious. The former head of the ATF has previously told the committee that the Justice Department is managing its response to Operation Fast and Furious in a manner designed to protect its political appointees.  This is the first time anyone has asserted their fifth amendment right in this investigation and heightens concerns that the Justice Department’s motivation for refusing to hand over subpoenaed materials is a desire to shield responsible officials from criminal charges and other embarrassment.

“Coming a year after revelations about reckless conduct in Operation Fast and Furious were first brought to light, the assertion of the fifth amendment also raises questions about whether President Obama and Attorney General Holder have made a serious and adequate response to allegations raised by whistleblowers.  Did Attorney General Holder really not know a senior Justice Department official fears criminal prosecution or is this just another example of him hiding important facts?  The committee will continue to demand answers.”

Unfortunately, Chicago politics has come to Washington, D. C. The investigation into Fast and Furious is moving ahead–but very slowly. President Obama’s Department of Justice is a political tool being wielded by the administration. The only way to end that is to vote this administration out of office.

Enhanced by Zemanta

I Think There Is A Problem With This

 America has three branches of government–the Executive, the Legislative, and the Judicial. The idea is to divide the power so that no one branch takes control of the government. There is also the added benefit that each branch protects its own interests by keeping an eye on what the other branches are doing. Thus, we have Congressional hearings when the Executive branch gets a little feisty. The purpose of these hearings is to hold everyone accountable. The process works when everyone is held accountable. The process does not work when information is withheld from Congressional committees and the committees cannot properly do their work.
 

Yesterday the Daily Caller reported on some recent testimony by Attorney General Eric Holder at the Operation Fast and Furious hearings. It seems that Attorney General Holder has not been entirely forthcoming with his emails regarding Operation Fast and Furious.

The article reports the following testimony:

“Most of the 5,000 documents you turned over are emails,” Issa said to Holder. “Mr. Attorney General, I have a question for you. Not one of these emails, in fact, is yours. Aren’t you a prolific emailer?”

Holder responded that, “No,” he is not a “prolific emailer.”

Issa followed up: “Don’t you email?”

Holder responded in the affirmative. “Do you have a personal email account as well as an attorney general email account?” Issa pressed.

“I have an email account at the Justice Department, yes,” Holder equivocated.

If I remember correctly, the press went after former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin for using her personal email account for business when she was governor. Somehow the major press is not noticiing that the Attorney General seems to have done the same thing.

The article further reports:

Holder continued to avoid the line of questioning, and said that he’s provided an “unprecedented” amount of documents to Congress. But, he still wouldn’t cite a legal reason why he’s refusing to comply with congressional subpoenas and requests.

“In making production determinations, we have followed what attorneys general in the past have always used — applicable standards, whether these are Republican or Democrat attorneys general,” Holder said. “The information we’ve provided you has been responsive, has been, I think, wholesome and also unprecedented.”

I think this is political-speak for I am not going to willingly give you the information you are looking for–you are going to have to come after it. I hope Committee Chairman Representative Darrell Issa will do just that.

Enhanced by Zemanta

The Fast And Furious Document Dump

Yesterday Michael A. Walsh posted an article at the New York Post about the White House’s Friday night 1,400-page document dump concerning Operation Fast and Furious.

Basically, the documents released contradict the Obama’s administration’s claim that Eric Holder and President Obama were totally unaware of what was going on with Operation Fast and Furious. This is an interesting claim considering that the administration has recently sealed all records relating to the death of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry, who was killed using a gun that was traced back to Operation Fast and Furious.

The evidence is growing that the charges made by Senator Chuck Grassley and Representative Darrell Issa about Operation Fast and Furious are, in fact, true. The Obama administration did allow about 2,000 high-powered weapons to be sold to Mexican drug cartel agents and then taken across the border and into the Mexican drug wars. There has been speculation that this was done so that a case could be made to place tighter gun laws on Americans. At this time I would like to mention that the problem with gun laws is that only law-abiding citizens pay attention to them. Generally, all that gun laws accomplish is to disarm an innocent public while arming criminals. Eventually this leads to more gun crimes–not less.

The article concludes:

It’s time for the months of lies to end — but don’t hold your breath. The administration recently sealed the court records relating to agent Terry’s murder and — a year later — the one man arrested hasn’t been tried.

So far, three presidential candidates, a couple of senators and more than 50 congressmen have called for Holder to resign. If he can’t answer the one question that matters — why — that number ought to include his boss.

Keep in mind that had the Democrat Party maintained control of the House of Representatives, we would not be hearing about Operation Fast and Furious. It would have been buried. We need to elect Congressmen in 2012 who will put the good of the country above the good of their individual party.

 

Enhanced by Zemanta

I Really Don’t Understand Who Knew What About Fast And Furious–Or When They Knew It!

On Thursday, Real Clear Politics posted two transcripts–one of Eric Holder testifying before Congress in May saying he had first heard of Operation Fast and Furious “for the first time over the last few weeks” and another of the President in March saying “Eric Holder has — the attorney general has been very clear that he knew nothing about this. We had assigned an I.G., inspector general, to investigate it.”

I have no idea what the truth is here. My conclusion is that we need an independent investigator to find out why the U. S. Government was engaged in gun running to Mexico. Who knew, what they knew, and when they knew are all questions that need to be answered.

Please follow the link above to Real Clear Politics to read the entire interviews. The whole situation seems to get more confusing every day.

Enhanced by Zemanta

The Death Toll Related To Operation Fast And Furious Grows

CBS News reported yesterday that three more murders have been linked to guns bought as part of Operation Fast and Furious. The article posts portions of a letter from the Justice Department listing weapons that have been found at various crime scenes in Mexico. It is an unfortunate chapter in the history of America that we were involved in gunrunning operations to Mexico.

Enhanced by Zemanta

The Investigation Of Operation Fast And Furious Continues

Greta Van Susteren, host of the Fox News progr...

Image via Wikipedia

Fox News reported yesterday on an interview Darrell Issa gave Greta Van Susteren on her television show recently. Representative Issa stated that he is aware that Congress is being gamed by the Justice Department, but that Congress will finish its investigation of Operation Fast And Furious.

The Justice Department has recently shuffled its staff in response to the criticism regarding the operation.

The article reports:

Issa weighed in on the shakeup at the Department of Justice, which involved the demotion of ATF boss Ken Melson, hoping that some new blood might help the investigation move forward. He is hopeful that under a new U.S. attorney it can begin to go after those who were involved in the scheme. While Melson was cooperative and helpful during the investigation according to Issa, there was a need to have someone with independent eyes get to the bottom of Operation Fast and Furious.

There are some major problems with what went on in Operation Fast And Furious. I hope Congress can determine who knew what and when they knew it. This scandal is the kind of thing that causes Americans to lose faith in their government. That is not something we need right now.

 

Enhanced by Zemanta

Is The Executive Branch Of Government Above The Law ?

Fred Upton

Image via Wikipedia

Yesterday the Washington Examiner posted an editorial about the need for more aggressive action by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform in reining in some of the power grabs by the Obama administration. President Obama has frequently used bureaucratic decrees to initiate policies rejected by Congress and the public.

Representative Fred Upton (R-Mich) heads the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Representative Upton has requested documents from the Department of Energy concerning its $535 million loan guarantee to Solyndra Corp. So far the Energy Department and the Office of Management Budget have defied a congressional subpoena and refused to turn over documents.

Representative Darrell Issa heads the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. Representative Issa has asked the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) for documents concerning their actions when Boeing attempted to open a plant in South Carolina (a right-to-work state).

So far, many of the documents that have been requested have not been produced by the Obama administration. It is time for the Republicans in the House of Representatives to develop a spine and insist that these documents be made available to the appropriate committees.

Enhanced by Zemanta