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Dem Lawmaker Accuses Rep. Issa of “Election Year Witch Hunt” in Congressional Probe

Rep. Elijah Cummings/govt. photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Rep. Elijah Cummings, the ranking Democrat on the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform,  on Thursday accused Rep. Darrell Issa, the Republican committee chair, of an “election year witch hunt” in going after the Attorney General and the Justice Department during a Congressional probe into the flawed Operation Fast and Furious.

Referring to a minority staff committee report released this week — which indicated Holder and other top Justice officials  never gave the green light for Fast and Furious — Cummings accused Issa of “escalating unsubstantiated allegations” during his Congressional probe.

Cummings accusations came during a hearing on Fast and Furious, an ATF program out of Phoenix that encouraged straw purchasers to buy guns from dealers, all with the hopes of tracing the guns to the Mexican cartels. ATF lost track of many weapons, some of which showed up at crimes scenes on both sides of the border.

Cummings pointed out that the “gun walking” operations out of Phoenix began five years ago — even before Fast and Furious —  during the Bush years and while Michael Mukasey was attorney general.

Cummings went on to say to Issa: “Mr. chairman, although you deserve credit for exposing these operations over the last five years, we part ways in to what we should  do next. You now appear intent on escalating controversy and promoting unsubstantiated  allegations in a campaign that looks more like an election year witch hunt  than an even handed investigation. This is the sixth time, the sixth time, the attorney general has testified on these issues.”

“In contrast, you never once called the former head of the ATF  to testify at a public hearing even though ATF was the agency responsible for these reckless programs. And although Attorney General Holder has answered questions repeatedly, you refuse to even interview former Attorney General Mukasey.”

Republican committee members took sharp aim at Holder during his appearance before the committee, accusing him of withholding documents to cover up something, and of failing to discipline anyone in the Justice Department for Fast and Furious. Issa has accused the Justice Department of being less than forthright in cooperating with his probe into the gun walking matter.

Democrats defended Holder.

Buerkle to Atty Gen. Holder: You Must be Held Accountable for Fast and Furious and Agent Terry’s Murder

 


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