After yesterday’s news of the deal between Senators Pat Leahy and Charles Grassley to get documents and testimony from ATF chief Kenneth Melson on Operation Fast and Furious, it seemed as though Democrats might finally take the scandal of the gunrunning fiasco seriously. Alas, Elijah Cummings and House Democrats appear uninterested in abuses of government power, incompetence, and potential cover-ups at AFT and the Department of Justice. In fact, they want to turn the probe into an argument for expanding government control of firearms:
The top Democrat on a House investigative committee is broadening an inquiry into a botched gun-tracing operation, called Operation Fast and Furious, to include a look at American gun laws.
Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), the leading Democrat on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, released a report early Thursday titled “Outgunned,” that details how Bureau for Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agents say gun laws need to be tightened for them to fight organized crime along the U.S.-Mexico border.
Why, yes! The right response for Congress to a fiasco where the ATF and DoJ refused to stop guns from flowing over the border is to give them more power to stop American citizens from buying guns in the first place! Certainly, the federal law-enforcement agencies have proven their worth in Operation Fast and Furious and should be given even more opportunities to intervene in the exercise of Second Amendment rights!
That’s the World According To Elijah Cummings, anyway.
The tactic here is transparent — Cummings and his fellow Democrats want to stage a distraction from the stupidity and incompetence that Fast and Furious revealed at the ATF and DoJ. They don’t want the public to focus on how high up the approvals went on this gunrunning operation conducted by the Obama administration, nor whether the stupidity and incompetence led to obstruction and perjury before Congress on the part of Obama appointees in the DoJ. They would much rather pretend that the real reason at least two American agents are dead from weapons the ATF allowed to cross into Mexico is that Americans can buy and use guns in a lawful manner in the US.
If they’re that desperate for a distraction, then Darrell Issa must be close to exposing something rather significant in the DoJ.
Update: I totally forgot to link Bob Owens at PJM on this topic, who notes that Cummings’ first strategy flopped:
The primary reason Cummings is calling this forum was clearly indicated in his actions earlier this year, when he refused to sign a letter to President Obama asking the White House to direct the Department of Justice to cooperate with the Gunwalker investigation. At the time the Oversight Committee had authored the letter asking the president to compel DOJ officials to provide documents relating to the scandal to the committee. Cummings refused to sign the letter asking for the evidence, which all other Democrats on the committee did. …
Instead of seeking answers from those Obama administration officials who are culpable for a rogue government program that has left cops, soldiers, and civilians dead, the congressman from Baltimore will use his position in order to provide airtime to those who would place blame at the feet of American citizens.
There may be a more disreputable role for a congressman to play during such a scandal, but I’m finding it hard to think of one.
The term political hack comes to mind, but it might not be strong enough.