IG Report Shows Issa to Be Too Fast and Furious
How ironic that House Oversight Chairman Darrrell Issa (R-CA) is now praising the report released Wednesday by DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz on the “Fast and Furious” gun-walking program. As reported yesterday in the Washington Post, Mr. Issa has called the report a “huge step toward restoring public faith in the Justice Department.” Would that the same could be said of his own actions with respect to the Oversight Committee he chairs.
Mr. Issa is the same individual who insisted on a constitutional confrontation between the legislative and executive branches by hauling Attorney General Eric Holder into court on charges of contempt of Congress when the attorney general refused to give Mr. Issa all that he had demanded in an overbroad subpoena. Not content to wait for the inspector general’s investigation to play out, Mr. Issa jumped at the first opportunity to make political hay at the expense of the Department of Justice.
CREW is no defender of DOJ. We are on record as condemning the ineffective and flawed investigations carried out by the Public Integrity Section of the Criminal Division, under the leadership of Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer. But, as CREW pointed out in a June 22, 2012 letter to Mr. Issa, his committee’s vote to hold Attorney General Holder in contempt constituted an abuse of its powers and made clear Mr. Issa and his committee are not pursuing legitimate oversight, but instead are pursuing a partisan political agenda.
In response to the committee’s subpoenas, DOJ produced thousands of pages of documents and made high-level officials, including the attorney general, available for committee questioning regarding the Fast and Furious Operation. But DOJ drew the line at producing a subset of documents generated at the conclusion of the operation pertaining to DOJ’s response to the Oversight Committee inquiry and the resulting media attention. The withheld documents were not necessary for the committee to assess the lawfulness of the Fast and Furious Operation, the issue within its legitimate oversight jurisdiction. The only possible conclusion to be drawn is that the committee was seeking fodder for a political agenda to embarrass the attorney general and, through him, President Barack Obama.
Had Mr. Issa awaited the IG report, produced only a few short months later, this confrontation could have been avoided. As Mr. Issa and his committee have acknowledged, the almost-500-page report is fair and comprehensive, and adds to the voluminous evidence the committee now has to evaluate the bona fides of the Fast and Furious Operation. Mr. Issa’s reckless rush to judgment demonstrates it is he who should bear the moniker “Fast and Furious.”