Skip to comments.Chairman Issa Chastises ATF for Refusal to Comply with Subpoena (All links are PDFs.)
Posted on 04/21/2011 1:07:37 PM PDT by neverdem
|Chairman Issa Chastises ATF for Refusal to Comply with Subpoena|
"If you do not comply with the subpoena, the Committee will be forced to commence contempt proceedings."
WASHINGTON. D.C. Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), the Chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform today, in a letter to Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) Acting Director Kenneth E. Melson, criticized the Director for failing to produce any documents in response to a subpoena issued March 31. The subpoena was issued after ATF and Department of Justice officials failed to cooperate in good faith with the Committee's investigation.
"The Department's internal policy to withhold documents from what it labels pending criminal investigations may not deprive Congress from obtaining those same documents if they are pertinent to a congressional investigation particularly in a matter involving allegations that reckless and inappropriate decisions by top Justice Department officials may have contributed to the deaths of both U.S. and Mexican citizens," Chairman Issa wrote in citing Supreme Court precedents and previous Congressional investigations. "Let me be clear ... we are not conducting a concurrent investigation with the Department of Justice, but rather an independent investigation of the Department of Justice specifically, of allegations that the reckless and inappropriate decisions of Department officials have created a serious public safety hazard. We are asking for documents that relate to decisions such officials made. Congress is legally entitled to all of these documents."
Issa noted that the Committee's request for documents has been pending since March 16, 2011 and a request from Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Charles Grassley has been pending since January. While the Department of Justice has not produced any documents, Issa's letter to Melson included several documents obtained elsewhere by the Committee indicating the Justice Department knew the public danger the operation created. The role of top Justice Department officials in approving the operation remains top concern for investigators.
"Efforts by the Department of Justice and ATF to stonewall the Committee in its investigation by erroneously, but matter-of-factly, citing an internal department policy as a preventative measure for denying access to documents have only enhanced suspicions that such officials have played a role in reckless decisions that have put lives at risk. The Committee continues to pursue this matter vigorously, in part, because concerned individuals have indicated they do not have confidence in the Department's ability to review the actions of its own top officials."
Issa noted that the Justice Department's claimed concerns about sharing particular documents are undermined by their unwillingness to take steps to engage the committee in a serious conversation.
"Even if a legal basis did exist for withholding documents, the first step in evaluating this argument and the basis for a meaningful conversation between the Committee and the Department of Justice would be the production of a log of documents responsive to the subpoena with a specific explanation as to why you cannot produce each document," Issa wrote in criticizing the Department's disingenuous reasons for failing to cooperate. "The Department has failed to provide any such log."
Media reports have raised questions about the handling of operations involving gun trafficking into Mexico specifically the allegation that ATF has had a policy of permitting and even encouraging the movement of guns into Mexico by straw purchasers. This practice may have contributed to the deaths of hundreds on both sides of the border, including federal law enforcement agents.
The last time the Oversight Committee raised a contempt concern to the Department of Justice was July 2008, when then Chairman Henry Waxman prepared to move forward with a contempt resolution against Attorney General Michael Mukasey for failing to produce subpoenaed information or to assert a valid claim of executive privilege over documents related to an investigation into the identity disclosure of former CIA employee Valerie Plame Wilson. The resolution did not move forward after President Bush asserted executive privilege over the documents in question.
To hell with chastising. Issue a contempt of Congress citation.
Welcome to The New World Order Darrell, baby! Now get back in your place.
President for Life Barrak Milhous Odumbo have to follow the LAW??? What kind of “RADICAL” Republican nonsense is this???
Next outrage will be holding TSA or whatever they are today in contempt for failure to explain why they have an outright lunatic as head administrator.
I was thinking about cutting the ATF budget ... maybe by 100%?
Some agencies just need a defunding.
Can congress have them arrested if they are found in contempt?
Maybe put them in the D.C. Jail?
Ok, all spending bills originate in the house. Absolutely zero out their budget until they decide not to be a rogue agency. Especially since they then blamed the American gun owners for the problem THEY were creating.
And stick to it even if it means a full-on shutdown.
And explain to the public that a federal agency supplied thousands of assult rifles to the Mexican drug cartels, and now refuses to answer congressional questions about it. This despotic government in DC must be stopped.
issue a contempt, suspend without pay or benefits the ATF officials blocking access, and let’s get er done
They need to go. ALL OF THEM.
Contempt, impeach or just go home already.
Yes Issa needs to step down hard on ATF. They are basically a lawless agency who’s only real purpose is gun control. There’s one we should put on the shut down list.
Talk of contempt citations are cheap, if you’re gonna shoot, don’t talk, shoot. IOW, crap or get off the pot.
I might be wrong, but it sounds like they have to get the DOJ to cooperate to move ahead on contempt. If so, nothing will happen.
“Chairman Issa? How many divisions does Chairman Issa command?”
They defunded some of the Czars, how did that work out? Oh yes I remember Obama said sorry boys but you can't do that.
It is good to be king
I just read that Obama gave 25 million to the Libyan rebels, we don't need no stinking congress.
The DOJ and now ATF have been ignoring Issa’s subpoena’s.
There was another document request over the FOIA and people in the Obama admin using it for political purposes to see who was probing them.
When is the GOP going to grow a pair?
When is everyone going to realize we are very close to a a dictatorship?
Yes they've had an anti second amendment agenda funded by taxpayers long enough. Imagine having an agency in charge of free speech or religion. The mere existence of the F part of the BATFE is unconstitutional. I would add the E part also when it concerns arms.
Shall Not Be Infringed leaves exactly ZERO room for federal gun control whatsoever. The BATFE is an unconstitutional lawless rogue agency.
Mr. Congress, Defund and shut down this agency, NOW!
Now there's an ironic turn of phrase. Sic 'em, Congressman. Bite them, and bite them HARD.
One week to be precise. If they raise the debt ceiling
Odummy will have finished us off. I don’t think people realize this.
Less than a week.
Mind boggling. I can barely watch that. I’ve never had a panic attack, but that brings me close.
You got that right. Firearms are a legal product in the USA just like anythng else. They should fall under the Commerce Dept. We don’t need a special regulatory agency for Alchohol, Tobacco and Firearms. Its ridiculous.
While the language is measured, the essence of that statement is absolutely damning.
The Justice Department is displaying utter contempt for the rule of law. Not that it's any surprise to anyone who has been paying attention to the criminal actions of the Obama regime...
Not really - read on. There is a perfect tool to use here & it has been upheld by SCOTUS & the POTUS cannot pardon:
Under this process, the procedure for holding a person in contempt involves only the chamber concerned. Following a contempt citation, the person cited is arrested by the Sergeant-at-Arms for the House or Senate, brought to the floor of the chamber, held to answer charges by the presiding officer, and then subjected to punishment as the chamber may dictate (usually imprisonment for punishment reasons, imprisonment for coercive effect, or release from the contempt citation).
Concerned with the time-consuming nature of a contempt proceeding and the inability to extend punishment further than the session of the Congress concerned (under Supreme Court rulings), Congress created a statutory process in 1857. While Congress retains its “inherent contempt” authority and may exercise it at any time, this inherent contempt process was last used by the Senate in 1934, in a Senate investigation of airlines and the U.S. Postmaster. After a one-week trial on the Senate floor (presided over by the Vice-President of the United States, acting as Senate President), William P. MacCracken, a lawyer and former Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Aeronautics who had allowed clients to rip up subpoenaed documents, was found guilty and sentenced to 10 days imprisonment.
MacCracken filed a petition of Habeas Corpus in federal courts to overturn his arrest, but after litigation, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Congress had acted constitutionally, and denied the petition in the case Jurney v. MacCracken.
Presidential pardons appear not to apply to a civil contempt procedure such as the above, since it is not an “offense against the United States” or against “the dignity of public authority.”
Here’s how it should be handled:
Go down to the administrative property in question; grab the target subject by the necktie with one hand, yanking the subject’s head rapidly downward, while you bring your opposite knee up into the subject’s face. Repeat this procedure two or three times. Then, while the subject is dazed, place a suitable pair of “Channel Lock” pliers to the subject’s nut sack, and gradually apply pressure. The subject will then be most cooperative with any request you make.
It's never smelled so much like one than now.
Stay strong Mr Issa. The Lord is at your back.
Ooooooooooooooooo... chastises. I’ll bet they’re laughing it up in the White House. What will Congress DO about it?
The first word that comes to mind is “Pathetic”.
ATF, the agency who brought us the Ruby Ridge murders and Waco barbecue of women and children!
The consistent rumor is that BATFE is the dumping ground for failed fed. employees, other agencies do not respect them at all.
BATFE have been engaged in a seditious campaign to obliterate our second amendment rights for decades, becoming obvious from at least 1933.
They are masters of two faced manipulation of facts, anytime someone catches on and attempts any reform they cite “Ongoing Investigations” as an excuse to evade responding.
They will spend several years “building a case” against some mom & pop gun-shop in East Podunk over a paperwork error, but have lost HUNDREDS (Thousands?) of NFA records internally without any consequence to themselves of their employees.
This scandal is a bare fraction of the travesties that are integral to BATFE and it’s operations, a true list would require several books!
This is what happens when a Fed. agency is established to contrive means to reduce or eliminate the practical application of an enumerated constitutional right.
It is past time for congress to radically revamp BATFE’s charter, but it will not happen under this or any other administration.
The current outrage will pass, the unelected bureaucrats will quietly continue their pogrom against our right to keep and bear arms, with the tacit blessing of liberals like Feinstein and Schumer on the left, and Law Enforcement At All Cost - Government must CONTROL goons on the right.
Issa may be, like his primary voters, too uninformed to take action. Nothing will happen, I suspect.
Understatement of the decade. The American people are always the last to figure out things and usually never do.
If dancing with the stars and american idol were cancelled they would protest.
I am pretty disappointed with Issa. All that corruption and it appears as though nothing will be done about it.
No wonder people act lawless anymore. Laws and rules are just optional. Promises are lipspeak.
I thought the GOP was going to also get our lightbulbs back? That is also forgotten.