Guns

Attorney General Eric Holder in Contempt of Congress Over "Fast and Furious"

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Not even Holder's own Democratic Party was united for him, though the Congressional Black Caucus found the whole thing "appalling" and led a walk off the floor in protest.

Details from CBS:

The House of Representatives voted to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress Thursday for failing to provide documents relating to the Fast and Furious gunwalking program.

The House took two votes, one on criminal contempt charges, which passed 255-67.

But ah! Don't expect much action. Separation of powers!

The criminal contempt of Congress is likely not to go anywhere as the Justice Department, which Holder heads, is the department responsible for opening a criminal investigation.

But there's more:

The second charge, which passed 258—95, was a civil contempt charge, could move to federal court where it could take years to litigate. Though the action puts more pressure on the administration to abide by the subpoenas and provide requested documents.

The Democratic Party was split on the action. Seventeen members voted with the Republicans to hold Holder in criminal contempt while just under two dozen voted to hold him in civil contempt. 

Holder says hell no:

Attorney General Eric Holder reacted after the first vote, criticizing House Republicans for "making reckless charges" and "advancing truly absurd conspiracy theories."

He called the vote against him "a regrettable culmination of what became a misguided—and politically motivated—investigation during an election year. By advancing it over the past year and a half, Congressman Issa and others have focused on politics over public safety."

What it's all about:

Republicans investigating the scandal say the answers to many outstanding questions could lie in tens of thousands of pages of documents the Justice Department has failed to turn over citing that they're part of the internal deliberative process or ongoing investigations.

Several weeks of closed door discussions between members of Congress, their staff, Justice Department officials and even Holder himself resulted in a stalemate. President Obama granted Holder's request for executive privilege to keep the documents from Congress, but House Republicans question if the action is further evidence of a cover up.

The Justice Department had offered to provide a "fair compilation" of the outstanding documents if Republicans on the House Oversight Committee would agree—in advance—to end their investigation once and for all. Republicans balked when the Justice Department refused to provide a log of the withheld documents and descriptions of why they were being held back, as routinely required in court disputes of this nature.

I blogged the other day about a "journalist of the year" who thinks we should all just stop being so damn nosy about Fast and Furious.

As you may have seen floating around the social networking worlds where people try to say all concerns they can label as "right-wing" are crazy, there's a very long Fortune report says the program was not deliberately designed to let guns walk off into the hands of Mexican criminals and that the whole hub-bub is overblown.

Note: I am not as of now equipped to independently judge the perspicacity of that Fortune story, which does read very special-pleading for its sources in various ways. I cite it in fairness and for your information, not in endorsement. Katie Pavlich at Town Hall does a good job taking Fortune on, thanks to commenter "cockgobbla" for the link on that. 

Though it's worth remembering as per the above, at this point Holder's problems are about the cover-up, not the crime, if crime there was.

Nick Gillespie vs. Maddow and Maher on the matter:

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  1. The Justice Department had offered to provide a “fair compilation” of the outstanding documents if Republicans on the House Oversight Committee would agree — in advance — to end their investigation once and for all.

    I’m not a political analyst or a constitutional lawyer, but it seems to me they may as well have put out a giant neon sign on their door blinking “COVER-UP” with that offer.

    1. Isn’t this how we all argue with our spouses? “I’ll tell you what I did if you promise not to get mad about it?”

      1. Ours is a “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” marriage

      2. Uh, no, that’s how we argued with your parents when we were children.

  2. Well, that’s something I guess.

  3. But ah! Don’t expect much action. Separation of powers!

    What’s this ‘constitutional’ claptrap you’re talking. They took that body to the morgue this morning.

    1. +1776 Sad Faces

  4. http://t.co/zeZQGVTS

    (Via Radley Balko’s Twitter): That Fortune report appears to be flawed.

    1. Well, if the editor of TownHall replies without any documentation whatsoever, I’m sure convinced!

      1. Maybe she provides oodles of citations in the back of her Fast and Furious book?

      2. She wrote a book, actually. It’s not as though the Fortune Report is spilling over with documentation either, and what little there is doesn’t really support their claims.

        1. Hell, they started out with a bald-faced lie (claiming that running guns to Mexico wasn’t illegal), and it just went downhill from there.

          1. She doesn’t claim this.

            1. You repeated the claim later in the thread.

              1. No I didn’t!

                Learn to read, asshole.

        2. Has anybody actually read that thing? I paged through relevant sections and could find no evidence that the ATF encouraged guns to walk.

    2. Hehe. You just got a hat tip. The word “cockgobbla” is now permanently part of that article.

  5. And Holder’s response?

    I’m going to Disneyworld!

    Seriously. That’s where he was today. Talk about having contempt for Congress.

    1. I have contempt for Congress. Why shouldn’t Holder?

      1. But Congress has contempt for Holder and does not have contempt for you.

        I think that is how it works but we probably need a lawyer and a linguist to confirm.

        1. I’m pretty sure congress does have contempt for nearly every voting citizen of the country. Or, if they don’t, it may be that they beat us so much because they love us.

        2. I believe that Congress holds Holder “in contempt”. So yes, I believe that technically, you’re right.

          Way to ruin a joke.

          I know, I know.. “what joke?”

          1. So the “contempt” in which Congress holds Holder is legal and not personal. They hold “citizens” in personal contempt and fellow “public servants” in high personal regard but occasionally in legal contempt. How’s that?

  6. “a regrettable culmination of what became a misguided – and politically motivated – investigation during an election year. By advancing it over the past year and a half, Congressman Issa and others have focused on politics over public safety.”

    He left out RACIST! but Bill Maher worked it in on the video.

    1. He said the Attorney General is near!

  7. The Democratic Party was split on the action. Seventeen members voted with the Republicans to hold Holder in criminal contempt while just under two dozen voted to hold him in civil contempt.

    What?

    So more democrats voted to hold him civilly contempt then criminally contempt?

    What the fuck why would you say 17 then say under 2 dozen…give the fucking number.

    1. The numbers are in the fucking post dipshit.

      criminal contempt charges, which passed 255-67.
      The second charge, which passed 258 – 95, was a civil contempt charge

      1. How many democrats voted for civil contempt?

        “Just under two dozen” does not cut it.

        Obviously I wanted the Democrat voting numbers as those were the numbers I quoted and I asked about:

        “So more democrats voted to hold him civilly contempt then criminally contempt?”

  8. OT: That chick that plays Dexter’s sister on “Dexter”? She’s pretty fuckin’ hot.

    1. too skinny.

      But yeah I like how she bites her lip and pouts and how her character is emotionally honest at all times.

      1. I like her.

    2. I watched one episode of that show. Her acting was fucking horrible that I refused to watch any more episodes. She is like nails down a chalkboard. I have seen kindergarten plays that had better acting. I wonder who she was fucking to get that role.

      1. She was fucking Dexter’s actor. Then they got married. Then they split up.

        1. She dumped him because he got cancer. I’ll bet the new twist to the show is really, really awkward now.

          1. She dumped him because he got cancer? How sweet!

            I keep telling you horndogs, actresses are POISON. I know what I am talking about.

            1. Yes and no. I’ve had no problem, but they’re not “actresses” when I meet them. They become “actresses” just after I upload the videos to xtube.

            2. She dumped him because he got cancer? How sweet!

              And then she hooked up with John Edwards.

              Btw, her acting in the first season did suck, but she grew as an actress and has been decent in subsequent seasons.

              1. And then she hooked up with John Edwards.

                The politician or the biggest douche in the universe?

    3. Pics or GTFO.

  9. Did anyone hear if SCOTUS came back with a decision on ObamaCare? I haven’t seen a thing about it on HR all day.

    1. Did anyone hear if SCOTUS came back with a decision on ObamaCare? I haven’t seen a thing about it on HR all day.

      I seem to recall CNN announcing this morning that it was struck down, so I guess that’s good news.

      1. FOX said the same, so I guess that’s right.

        1. FOX said the same, so I guess that’s right.

          Well Fox is fair and balanced, so I guess we can take it to the bank: Obamacare has been struck down.

          1. ^^ Obi-Wan likes this ^^

            1. What does 0x10c mean?

              1. No clue. Google thinks its a game.

                1. It is a game but it is also supposed to be some riddle.

                  Thought you might know because of your handle.

                  1. Sorry, no, 0x90 is a NOP (no operation) instruction in x86.

          2. When CNN and FOX agree then it must be true.

    2. They said something about Congress overstepping the Commerce Clause, but that is about it. Oh yea, no strong-arming the states on Medicare.

  10. Decisions were rendered.
    Laws were upheld.
    Life went on.

    IN HELL.

  11. Note: I am not as of now equipped to independently judge the perspicacity of that Fortune story, which does read very special-pleading for its sources in various ways.

    There’s this link, if you want a comprehensive description of the story from a more critical mainstream source than the incompetent whores at CNN.

  12. You missed the opportunity to say “YOU ARE A HACK!” at Rachel Maddow.

    Seriously, what sane person’s perspective on an issue is “Well the Right wants you to think this, so clearly no Democrat has ever done anything bad. You racist.”

    That’s actually what she said.

  13. Does anyone disagree with this synopsis?

    1. ATF agents monitor gun purchases, and find straw buyers.
    2. ATF cannot convince any state prosecutors to charge said straw buyers.
    3. Guns monitored by ATF are exported to Mexico, where they are used in crimes.

    Is the problem that the ATF didn’t sieze any guns?

    1. 1) The ATF isn’t a state enforcement agency. If they can’t get federal prosecutors to bring charges, then that goes back to the guy who runs DoJ.

      2) It is alleged that ATF encouraged sellers to make sales that they were uncomfortable with. If that’s true, they’re basically responsible for whatever happens after that.

      3) Fortune’s “debunking” seems to be based for the most part on interviews with one of the people most closely involved with the scandal. Without some good corroborating evidence (not included), they’re just a mouthpiece for the accused.

      Pavlich quoted an email by Voth that says Our subjects purchased 359 firearms during the month of March alone, to include numerous Barrett .50 caliber rifles,” he went on, “I believe we are righteous in our plan to dismantle this entire organization and to rush in to arrest any one person without taking in to account the entire scope of the conspiracy would be ill advices to the overall good of the mission.”

      That doesn’t sound like a person who really wanted to nail those straw purchasers, but was stymied by prosecutors, it sounds like someone who believe that the guns needed to end up in the hands of cartels.

      1. 1. The fortune article states: This was not the view of federal prosecutors. In a meeting on Jan. 5, 2010, Emory Hurley, the assistant U.S. Attorney in Phoenix overseeing the Fast and Furious case, told the agents they lacked probable cause for arrests, according to ATF records. Hurley’s judgment reflected accepted policy at the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Arizona. “[P]urchasing multiple long guns in Arizona is lawful,” Patrick Cunningham, the U.S. Attorney’s then?criminal chief in Arizona would later write. “Transferring them to another is lawful and even sale or barter of the guns to another is lawful unless the United States can prove by clear and convincing evidence that the firearm is intended to be used to commit a crime.”

        Is there any evidence whatsoever of point #2?

        If this entire scandal revolves around the testimony of a disgruntled ATF agent and an amiguous line from an email, that’s not enough.

        1. If that’s all there is, then why doesn’t Holder just turn over the relevant documents to Congress?

          1. Because documents relating to ongoing criminal investigations are not subject to congressional subpoena.

            http://www.mainjustice.com/fil…..4-8-11.pdf

            1. That’s wishful thinking, if I’ve ever heard it. DOJ may not WANT to turn over documents to congress relating to ongoing investigations, but they have absolutely no authority to refuse to do so.

              1. Rule 6(e) of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure
                http://www.law.cornell.edu/rules/frcrmp/rule_6

                Unless these rules provide otherwise, the following persons must not disclose a matter occurring before the grand jury:

                (vi) an attorney for the government

                1. Where’s the F+F grand jury?

                2. Frickin’ Congress is not a grand jury.

                  1. Issa subpoenaed Grand Jury testimony.

                    Holder refused to provide it.

        2. 1) Straw purchasing is a federal crime, punishable by 10 years in prison.

          2) Exporting firearms without a license is a federal crime, punishable by 10 years in prison.

          3) Making a business of selling firearms without an Federal Firearm License is a crime, punishable by 10 years in prison.

          IN short, people running guns to Mexico were violating all kinds of federal gun laws, so that argument is FULL OF SHIT.

          1. 1) The problem is that you can’t prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that a person bought the firearm for someone else.

            2) The ATF doesn’t have any idea how the guns are getting to Mexico. They suspect US citizens are buying them legally and then transferring them to others who smuggle them. The ATF doesn’t know who these smugglers are. They applied for a wiretap but didn’t get one.

            3) The ATF has no evidence that these straw buyers exchanged those guns for money. There’s no proof of a “business”.

            I agree that people running guns to Mexico are breaking all kinds of laws, but that only matters if the ATF can PROVE IT. They couldn’t.

            1. The Derider :
              1) The problem is that you can’t prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that a person bought the firearm for someone else.

              3) The ATF has no evidence that these straw buyers exchanged those guns for money. There’s no proof of a “business”….

              In your second quoted point you state that the guns were exchanged to somebody else, but in the first point you state that there was no proof the guns were bought for somebody else. How can both points be true?

              Besides, the ATF has successfully prosecuted people in the past for engaging in the business of selling firearms for buying/selling more than 5 guns in a one year period. Many of these straw purchases bought more than that quantity in one purchase.

              1. Because while they know that the guns must have been transferred from the straw buyers, they have no proof of a financial transaction, or even the identity of who those guns were transferred to.

              2. Again, the ATF doesn’t actually prosecute anyone, that’s a decision for the district attorney.

                They declined to prosecute this case.

                1. They should have prosecuted this case, you stupid cunt.

                  And Holder should be prosecuted, too.

        3. 1. I’m not a lawyer. That said, I read enough stories about prosecutors to know that if they want to fuck someone, they can find an excuse. And I damn well know that if they find someone carrying around a ton of grenade parts, they can find an excuse to bust them. There’s no NGA.

          Now, maybe there is a loophole in the law, but if so, the ATF was wasting its time and should have focused on cases it could prosecute. And if there wasn’t a loophole in the law, then DOJ was either incompentent, or had some sort of ulterior agenda. Either way, that’s on DOJ boss.

          It should be noted that eventually charges were brought against AZ straw purchasers (in the Wide Receiver cases, I believe, but after the FF story broke), so it obviously isn’t impossible.

          2. There may be evidence. I’ve seen reporting, not documentation. Fortune didn’t attempt to debunk it, so far as I recall.

          #3 is the more damning point — it suggests that Voth never was interested in the straw purchasers (at least, not until the operation blew up and they needed to pretend they had a valid reason for their actions). He wanted to get the big guys in Mexico, and if that meant that a few citizens died, well, his cause was “righteous”.

          If this entire scandal revolves around the testimony of a disgruntled ATF agent and an amiguous line from an email, that’s not enough

          It’s still better than a “debunking” based almost entirely on statements by a guy potentially facing charges in the U.S. and Mexico is

          1. She said she interviewed 37 people and looked at thousands of pages of documentation. It’s not all Voth.

            1. I can interview 200 people just by standing outside the McDonalds all day.

              Are they identified so that the reader can verify that they are, in fact, people with relevant information?

              1. Indeed, a six-month Fortune investigation reveals that the public case alleging that Voth and his colleagues walked guns is replete with distortions, errors, partial truths, and even some outright lies. Fortune reviewed more than 2,000 pages of confidential ATF documents and interviewed 39 people, including seven law-enforcement agents with direct knowledge of the case. Several, including Voth, are speaking out for the first time.

            2. What Tulpa said. Just because she interviewed 37 people doesn’t mean that their comments contributed much, if anything, to the piece. She also read thousands of pages of documents, but only saw fit to post two.

              1. No, but it means that the assertion that the article was “based almost entirely on the statements by a guy potentially facing charges in the US and Mexico” is not supported by the evidence.

                1. No, but it means that the assertion that the article was “based almost entirely on the statements by a guy potentially facing charges in the US and Mexico” is not supported by the evidence.

                  How do you figure? If she never referenced them, then they have no bearing.

                  1. That’s not how magazine articles like those in Forbes or Reason are constructed.

                    1. Cool. Then I looked at hundreds of thousands of documents, and I found that the entire enterprise was conceived and executed in order to drum up press for another assault weapons ban. I guess since I say I looked at more documents, according to your criteria, I win?

                2. The evidence is my reading of the article. Most of it is essentially written from Voth’s perspective. If it was a story, it would be third person limited perspective and he would be the protagonist.

                  There are very few attributed quotes to anyone else, and most don’t shed any new light, or are not relevant to FF itself. Its bias (lionizing Voth and smearing the whistleblowers) is palpable.

                  The fact of the matter is that the ATF has every reason to play up the “we failed because we didn’t have enough tools and legal authority.” If people are dumb enough to believe it, they get more money and more power. The motive is transparent. There’s also nothing surprising about the NRA’s demand that the law be rigorously enforced — the alternative not some gun rights utopia, it’s further restrictions on gun rights.

                  1. To the extent that new information is revealed, it’s almost entirely to the detriment of the USAO, not for the Congressional Oversight committee. That might be good for Voth and his allies, but makes the scandal even more of a problem for Holder.

                  2. What the article makes clear is that there is no convincing evidence that the ATF actively promoted gunwalking. They were stymied by unenforceable gun laws and conservative prosecutors in Arizona and at the national level.

                    1. i.e. Fast and Furious is just a movie and has never existed in any other form. Case closed.

    2. According to Fortune, it’s all a big misunderstanding.

      1. A big misunderstanding that BO claims falls under executive privilege.

    3. Wouldn’t you make sure the state prosecutors were on board before letting (and in some cases forcing) dealers sell guns to straw buyers? I mean, if you were actually not trying to get guns into the wrong hands.

      1. Still waiting for any proof that anyone was “forced”, or even encouraged to be a straw buyer in this case.

        And since the investigation started during the Bush administration, it seems silly to blame Holder for failing to get prosecutors on-board first.

        1. You will never get your proof if you close down a case before it happens.What are you so afraid of? An expensive court case will obviously exonerate all dubiously charged and put money in the hands of talented lawyers which will stimulate the economy. What fucking planet are you from?

  14. Just finished watching the Maher segment where Gillespie diffused both Rachel Maddow and Bill Maher, by calmly demonstrating that their framing was inherently partisan. I don’t know that I’ve seen a better job of calmly and rationally arguing the point while simultaneously making your opponents look like the hysterical cheap-shot hacks that they are.

    Anybody who wants to be an effective agent of rational change should study this segment carefully, and attempt to reproduce the mechanics, tone, and demeanor as faithfully as possible.

    1. Defused? Perhaps. Maybe both.

  15. The criminal contempt of Congress is likely not to go anywhere as the Justice Department, which Holder heads, is the department responsible for opening a criminal investigation.

    What if, instead of criminal contempt of Congress, it were, say, murder? Would *that* go anywhere?

  16. Surprisingly Holder was grilled last night on MSNBC by Al Sharpton. Sharpton asked the tough questions and Holder was obviously uncomfortable. According to the Daily Rash, Sharpton even questioned Holder about Oprah. http://www.thedailyrash.com/er…..-interview

    1. Ooh. Precious broadcast seconds devoted to Oprah? I’ m impressed.

      1. I think that’s a parody.

  17. lol, they are ALL bought and paid for, corrupt as the day is long lol.

    http://www.Mostly-Anon.tk

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