Fast and Furious: Guns, Murder, And Impeachment

Attorney General,   Eric Holder
Attorney General,
Eric Holder

EDWARD WHITE, ACLJ

Although overshadowed recently in the news by the other Obama Administration scandals, the fallout from the Operation Fast and Furious fiasco continues.

Background

Operation Fast and Furious was an Obama Administration plan executed from 2009 to 2010 by the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF). DOJ and ATF leadership allowed about 2,000 guns to be smuggled from the United States into Mexico to be distributed to Mexican drug cartels.

The smuggled guns wound up being used by criminals, which has exacerbated violence and deaths in Mexico. Moreover, Fast and Furious guns were connected with the December 2010 death of Brian Terry, a United States Border Patrol Agent, who was killed in Arizona.

As a result of a Congressional investigation into the scandal, Attorney General Eric Holder was held in contempt of Congress for withholding documents that were the subject of a Congressional subpoena.

The Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, which is conducting the investigation, thereafter filed a federal lawsuit against Holder to enforce the subpoena and to obtain the documents.

Recent Developments

Three recent Operation Fast and Furious related-events have occurred that deserve mention: (1) a Mexican police chief was murdered with a gun the Obama Administration allowed to get into the hands of criminals; (2) a federal judge refused to dismiss the lawsuit against Attorney General Holder that seeks compliance with the Congressional subpoena; and (3) Articles of Impeachment have been introduced in Congress against Holder for, among other things, withholding the Fast and Furious documents sought by the Congressional subpoena.

More Violence

As is well known, DOJ and ATF cannot account for hundreds of the guns the Obama Administration permitted to be placed into the hands of Mexican drug cartel members through Operation Fast and Furious. Those guns will continue to be used in criminal activity, both in Mexico and in the United States, for years to come.

As was learned this past summer, Mexican drug cartel members used a Fast and Furious gun to murder a Mexican police chief. During the attack on the police chief, one of his bodyguards was killed, and his wife and a second bodyguard were wounded.

Lawsuit Against Holder

In response to the lawsuit filed by the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform to enforce its subpoena, Attorney General Holder filed a motion to dismiss the case. Holder and the Obama Administration have claimed that the documents sought by the subpoena do not have to be turned over because of executive privilege. They argued that the court did not have the power to resolve this dispute between the Administration and Congress.

In late September 2013, a federal judge (an Obama appointee) disagreed and denied the motion, allowing the lawsuit to continue. The judge stated that “endorsing the proposition that the executive may assert an unreviewable right to withhold materials from the legislature would offend the Constitution more than undertaking to resolve the specific dispute that has been presented here.”

The judge also refused Holder’s request to allow him immediately to appeal her decision. The lawsuit to enforce the subpoena, therefore, continues.

Articles of Impeachment

On November 14, 2013, Articles of Impeachment were introduced in the House of Representatives against Eric Holder for high crimes and misdemeanors. Article I, Section 2 and Article II, Section 4 of the Constitution give the House the power to bring Articles of Impeachment against federal officers and officials for “Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.”

Four grounds supporting Holder’s impeachment are listed: (1) refusing to comply with the subpoena requesting documents regarding Operation Fast and Furious; (2) failing to enforce multiple federal laws, including the Defense of Marriage Act; (3) refusing to prosecute those involved in the IRS scandal concerning the unauthorized disclosure of tax records belonging to political donors; and (4) providing false testimony to Congress regarding the Department of Justice’s investigation of journalist James Rosen.

As explained by Representative Pete Olsen of Texas, “Mr. Holder’s behavior clearly falls under ‘high crimes and misdemeanors,’ offenses that the U.S. Constitution explicitly defines as grounds for removal of a Senate-confirmed cabinet official through impeachment. The time is now for the House of Representatives to act with the authority vested in us by the Constitution and remove Attorney General Holder from office.”

Conclusion

Operation Fast and Furious is just one of the many scandals in which the Obama Administration is currently embroiled. Of the various scandals, it, along with the Benghazi scandal, have resulted in needless deaths. Because of the loss of human life and the flouting of Congressional oversight, it is a scandal that cannot be ignored or chalked up to party politics. Uncovering the truth behind the scandal is one that is in the best interest of this country. Congress should not rest until the truth is uncovered and justice is served.


Recommended read: Jay Sekulow’s, Witnessing Their Faith: Religious Influence on Supreme Court Justices and Their Opinions


Edward WhiteEdward White is Senior Counsel with the ACLJ and has been practicing law for more than twenty years. He is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame Law School, where he was a Thomas J. White Center for Law & Government Scholar and managing and student articles editor of the Notre Dame Journal of Law, Ethics & Public Policy.


Used with the permission of the American Center for Law and Justice.