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Holder has often tried to implicate the Bush administration in the scandal. Thursday’s opening statement proved no different. “Although these law enforcement operations–which include Wide Receiver, Medrano, Hernandez, Fast and Furious, and others–were focused on the laudable goal of dismantling illegal gun trafficking networks, they were flawed in both concept and execution. I share your concerns about how these operations were developed and implemented. That’s why–just as congressional leaders have called for answers–I asked the Department’s Inspector General to conduct a comprehensive investigation as well,” Holder said to the Committee.
Yet there are two glaring differences between the Bush and Obama administration operations. First, at least three of the four operations conducted under the Bush administration–Wide Receiver, Medrano and Hernandez–were coordinated with Mexican law enforcement authorities. (It is possible that Medrano was also conducted with Mexican coordination, but congressional Democrats could not say for certain). On the other hand, there was no effort made by the Obama administration to coordinate with Mexico on Fast and Furious.
Second, and far more important, there were no reported casualties as a result of any Bush administration efforts. As a result of Fast and Furious, U.S. Border Patrol agent Brian Terry and most likely Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent Jaime Zapata were killed, along with hundreds of Mexican citizens.
Holder’s seeming indifference to that reality, combined with the DOJ’s efforts to stonewall an investigation into those responsible for an operation leading to the murders of government officials, has reached critical mass. The initial reticence of House Republicans to pursue contempt charges against Holder, due to concerns that it might backfire during an election year, has evaporated. House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) said the department is “out of excuses.” Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA), ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, agreed, noting that the latest announcement is “straightforward and necessary.” “Contempt is the only tool Congress has to enforce a subpoena,” he added.
For many Americans, action of any kind against Eric Holder is long overdue. Under his command, the Department of Justice has devolved into little more than a political arm of the Obama administration and its radical policies. Such radicalization has been realized on many fronts. Holder refused to pursue a won case against New Black Panther Party members intimidating Philadelphia voters in 2008. The DOJ’s politicized Voting Section has rejected cleaning up state voter rolls, even as it files suits states enacting voter ID laws. Holder has also pursued litigation against states attempting to deal with illegal aliens, even as the DOJ turns a calculated blind eye towards the problem. The DOJ is trying to stamp out religious liberty, first by attempting to define what constitutes a church, and second, by forcing Catholic institutions to violate their religious principles regarding birth control. And finally, Mr. Holder continues to keep a lid on the Fast and Furious investigation, possibly committing perjury in the process.
For his efforts there, it is likely the Attorney General will be held in contempt of Congress. In a better world, Mr. Holder would face impeachment.
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