Deadline for IG’s to respond to Bachmann letters approaches; handling of Fast and Furious a good model

The longer that Reps. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), Louie Gohmert (R-TX), Trent Franks (R-AZ), Lynn Westmoreland (R-GA), and Tom Rooney (R-FL) remain on an island with respect to their Republican colleagues either denouncing them or leaving them stranded, the more courageous those five look. The mountains of evidence that have burgeoned forth since their initial letters were sent to various IG’s on June 13th seem to vindicate their concerns on a near daily basis.

Despite the occasional reports of another Republican politician either refusing to stand with Bachmann, et. al. or the publishing of another left-wing hit piece devoid of facts, it might seem like this story isn’t getting the coverage it should; Fox News was eager to publish Ed Rollins’ smear of Bachmann but has all but avoided the other side of the debate, despite that side having far more facts.

Nonetheless, as the evidence mounts, the deadline for all of the IG’s who received letters from Bachmann, et. al. is fast approaching. On that note, each of the five letters, sent to the IG’s for the Director of National Intelligence, Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security, Department of Justice, and Department of State, respectively, ended with the following paragraph:

Please forward your recommended “corrective action,” including a discussion of its consistency with the Constitution and laws of the United States, together with your other findings, to the undersigned in unclassified and, if necessary, classified form within 90 days of your receipt of this letter.

Those 90 days expire on September 13th, about three weeks from now.

As we learned with the Fast and Furious investigation, there were typically two ways recipients of such letters – usually at the Department of Justice – reacted. Most often, that reaction involved blowing off the deadline in a show of disrespect to Congress or in tactical hopes the issue would fade away into the abyss. On the occasions where the DOJ actually responded to letters sent on behalf of Congressional offices, the result was often worse.

For example, in a February 4, 2011 letter to Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA), Assistant Attorney General Ronald Weich asserted that any allegations the ATF allowed guns to ‘walk’ into Mexico were ‘false’. After ten months of stonewalling and obfuscation, the Justice Department ultimately had to withdraw that letter because guns were allowed to ‘walk’.

Oversight Committee Chairman, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) and Grassley – ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee – fought valiantly against Holder’s Justice Department and continue to do so. Faced with limited options, Issa’s Oversight Committee recently filed a civil suit against Holder in an attempt to get its hand on documents subpoenaed by Congress that Holder refused to release. The reason there is no criminal suit against Holder – who was found in criminal contempt of Congress – is because the individual responsible for pursuing such a course is… Holder’s subordinate. In fact, as Congress – in a bipartisan vote – found Holder in both criminal and civil contempt of Congress, President Barack Obama asserted Executive Privilege to prevent the release of those very same documents.

The Fast and Furious investigation got as far as it did because Grassley and Issa led. It didn’t get as far as it could have because House Leadership didn’t lead (not so subtle reference to John Boehner). Throughout, Speaker Boehner appeared disinterested in pursuing Fast and Furious to its just conclusion while expressing tepid and infrequent support for Issa’s committee. In fact, he scheduled the Eric Holder contempt hearings on the exact same day that the Obamacare ruling was to be handed down by the Supreme Court.

Incidentally, Boehner defended Huma Abedin and attacked Bachmann.

In both cases, Boehner was wrong.

In short, we urge Bachmann, et. al. to respond forcefully if the IG’s do not respect the 90 day deadline given to them by Bachmann, et. al.

Follow Issa’s Fast and Furious model. Don’t quit. Here is a clip from Oversight Committee member and House Republican freshman, Rep. Trey Gowdy, who exemplified – during the Fast and Furious investigation – an unadulterated passion for Justice that should be part of the very fabric of Congress.

Contrast that with John Boehner on 60 Minutes, shortly after he knew he would become Speaker as a result of the 2010 elections. What’s most troubling about this is that Boehner is crying about his country’s kids and grandkids not having ‘a shot at the American dream’, which is exactly what Bachmann, et. al. are trying to protect by asking tough, yet legitimate questions.


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