It seems like only yesterday that President Obama was strutting around in front of college audiences, lecturing them on the importance of “accountable” government. Oh, that’s right, it was yesterday. Well, never mind all that. What this President says is utterly irrelevant. What he does is worth monitoring carefully.
Darrell Issa has not been having much success with monitoring “the most transparent Administration in history,” which is so transparent that subpoenas pass right through it. He’s been trying to investigate the astounding “Gun Walker” scandal, in which the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives deliberately allowed American guns to fall into the hands of Mexican drug cartels. This was supposed to be part of an elaborate plan to either trap them in a crime worse than beheading people and shipping thousands of tons of illegal drugs, or trick them into shooting themselves by accident. They shot some innocent people instead, including a U.S. Border Patrol agent.
Issa, who chairs the House Oversight Committee, begin his investigation by issuing a formal request for documents from the BATFE. This got him nowhere, so he rolled up his sleeves and tried issuing subpoenas, which also encountered a stone wall.
I remember when the media used to become very excited about massive government cover-ups and the defiance of subpoenas.
Darrell Issa still does, so he fired off a letter to acting BATFE director Kenneth Melson (who has, incidentally, been the “acting” director of this agency since 2009. When do they get a real Director?) As reported by the Washington Examiner, Issa threatened Melson with a citation for contempt if he doesn’t comply with the subpoenas immediately.
He also brushed aside the flimsy excuse that providing the requested documents would interfere with a concurrent investigation by the Department of Justice. “We are not conducting a concurrent investigation with the Department of Justice,” Issa wrote, “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.”
Gun rights advocate Alan Gottlieb, chairman of the Citizens Committee For the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, wants Melson to resign. I think that would make it too easy to roll the fabled “Obama bus” over his career. He should be answering questions under oath. A lot of people in the BATFE should be. A lawless Administration moves one step closer to provoking the kind of crisis that even the friendliest reporter cannot ignore.