Here, you are urged and encouraged to run your mouths about something important.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Day 1 of Project Gunrunner Hearings Complete

Day 1 of the Project Gunrunner hearings, led by Chairman Darrell Issa featured a panel of four legal / Constitutional experts. The purpose was to lay the groundwork for Issa's claim that neither the Department of Justice nor ATF can refuse congressional subpoenas. The argument given to Issa by those agencies has been that doing so could harm ongoing investigations. The consent was unanimous. Congress has the right to compel documents from the Executive Branch, despite the latter's claims.

Via CBS News:
WASHINGTON - Today, the House Oversight Committee held a hearing to explore whether Congress has the right to hold the Justice Department in contempt in the so-called ATF "gunwalker" investigation.

Experts indicated the Justice Department should probably be more forthcoming when responding to the document requests from Congress. They said Congress has the right to resort to contempt proceedings, but that the document tug-of-war between the co-equal branches of government is not unusual.

In this case, it's getting heated. Chairman of the House Oversight Committee, Rep. Darrell Issa, R-CA, has said more subpoenas are forthcoming. He accuses the Justice Department of withholding documents after a subpoena he issued to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF); which is under the Justice Department's jurisdiction.
Day 2 of the hearings will be on Wednesday and will feature ATF agents, including the whistleblower that exposed the entire scandal - John Dodson. Also testifying will be members of deceased Border Agent Brian Terry's family. Terry's death is what ultimately motivated Dodson to come forward back in March. He said when he found out two of the guns found at Terry's murder scene were guns the ATF let 'walk' into Mexico, he could remain silent no longer.

In the hearings yesterday, ranking member Elijah Cummings (D) twice referred to Brian Terry as "Brian Kelly." Interestingly, he is defending the refusal of DOJ and ATF to turnover any documents. Hopefully, Cummings doesn't make the same mistake in front of Terry's family on Wednesday.

Here is a video news report from Fox that aired shortly before Day 1's testimony. It does a good job of explaining why these hearings are different than most.

h/t Sipsey Street

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