Congress already has two probes of the ATF and Department of Justice over Operation Fast and Furious, looking into whether federal officials broke federal laws and lied to Congress about the loss of almost 2,000 weapons in Mexico. Some of those weapons got used in violent crimes in Arizona, including the murder of a Border Patrol agent, and now lawmakers in Phoenix want to open their own investigation into OF&F. Did federal officials break state laws in Arizona — and if so, could they be charged with crimes in the state?
Speaker Andy Tobin, a Republican, created the program that will be chaired by State Representative David Burnell Smith, also a Republican.
In a news release, the lawmakers stated the committee had three goals: determine the facts, determine the impact on Arizona and, most importantly, determine if the feds broke any state laws.
The committee plans to reveal its findings on March 30.
It’s a good step for Arizona to take to keep pressure on Congress to uncover the scandal of OF&F. It’s also a handy bit of payback. The Obama administration sued Arizona for requiring law enforcement officers to check immigration statuses on detained suspects and succeeded in blocking implementation of the Arizona legislature’s new law. Attorney General Eric Holder argued that the federal government has the sole prerogative in determining how federal law gets enforced, or apparently whether it gets enforced at all, and that the state of Arizona needed to butt out. Now Arizona might just focus on state law to ensnare some of Holder’s associates — and perhaps even Holder himself — for violating state gun regulations in their zeal to paint gun dealers as amoral mercenaries profiting by arming the Mexican drug cartels.