Is contempt a policy with this administration?
The House oversight committee has subpoenaed the The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) for documents regarding Project Gunrunner and Operation Fast and Furious. The information was to be delivered to the committee by April 13th, but as of today the ATF has failed to comply. This has Republican Rep. Darrell Issa threatening contempt proceedings if the AFT does not cooperate. From The DC:
In the face of a subpoena by Issa, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) provided no documents by the April 13 deadline, according to an April 20 letter from Issa to ATF’s director, Kenneth Melson.
Issa is threatening contempt proceedings if ATF does not comply.
At issue are documents related to Project Gunrunner and Operation Fast and Furious, in which ATF allowed American guns to be smuggled into Mexico and sold to Mexican drug cartels. The goal of the program was to track the illegal weapons and drug markets after they were used in crimes and abandoned using ballistics information and serial numbers for the guns.
A spokesman for ATF declined to comment about the matter saying, “we can’t respond to the media or anyone else until we respond to the chairman himself.”
But in an April 13 letter to Issa, Assistant Attorney General Ronald Welch cited the Justice Department’s policy not to disclose details about “ongoing criminal investigations” as a reason not to comply with the document demand.
Issa says the objection is spurious.
“We are not conducting a concurrent investigation with the Department of Justice, but rather an independent investigation of the Department of Justice,” Issa says in his April 20 letter, citing three historical examples of congressional oversight of Justice Department investigations, including during the Teapot Dome scandal in 1922.
The DC goes on to say that the ATF did provide access to four documents, but according to Issa those documents did not “directly pertain” to Operation Fast and Furious.
This is another black mark on the transparency promise by then Presidential candidate Barack Obama. It is also not the first time the Obama Administration has stalled on acting or providing information when requested:
- Federal Judge Martin Feldman stated that the federal government’s regulatory actions to get around his court decision was “clear and convincing evidence of the government’s contempt.”
- Federal Judge Roger Vinson harshly told the Obama administration it had seven days to appeal his ruling that stated ObamaCare was unconstitutional after they attempted to delay the process by filing a “motion to clarify.”
- Whistleblower charges the DOJ with sitting on FOIA requests from conservatives while prioritizing liberal requests.
Contempt does not seem to be an exception with the Obama administration. It seems to be the rule! So much for transparency.