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Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Democrat Congressman's Answer to Project Gunrunner Scandal: Give the ATF More Power

Should the ATF continue to exist? It's an excellent question but what makes this one newsworthy is that the New York Times is asking it. In the wake of the Project Gunrunner / Operation Fast and Furious scandal, ATF acting Director Kenneth Melson is expected to tell the House Oversight Committee what he knows; when he does, this entire scandal could blow wide open. Some of the absurd narratives from the left have been taking shape over recent weeks to counter Chairman Darrell Issa's attempts to get to find out who authorized the program at the highest levels.

For example, take the position of ranking member of the Oversight Committee, Elijah Cummings (D-MD), who thinks the answer to the problems at the ATF is to give the agency more power:
“There are those in Congress and outside of Congress that would like for the A.T.F. to just go away, but I’m not one of them,” said Representative Elijah E. Cummings, a Maryland Democrat who, just back from a fact-finding trip to Mexico, plans to introduce legislation this week to strengthen the bureau’s powers. “They catch hell inside and out.”
Pure insanity. To illustrate, this would be like throwing the baby out and keeping the bath water.

One thing that has become obvious is that there are some excellent agents at ATF but it's the leadership that is corrupt. Cummings is advocating giving that leadership more power while it's under investigation for implementing a policy that got people killed. It is worth noting that none other than the New York Times puts the viability of the ATF itself, on the table:
The fracas over the operation, called Fast and Furious, could cost another A.T.F. official — Kenneth E. Melson, the acting director — his job. But it has also renewed long-simmering questions about whether the bureau — hobbled by the volatile gun politics of Washington, a lack of permanent leadership and its own missteps — should even continue to exist.
Among the more insane narratives to come from the left in defense of the administration / ATF relative to Project Gunrunner is that Melson is only an 'Acting Director' and that the program wouldn't have gone off the rails if the agency had a permanent Director.

Ironically, Cummings is quoted as saying his position is not partisan:
Representative Cummings, who concedes that the bureau made mistakes, wants to strengthen the agency, though his bill is unlikely to pass. And he would like to see it have a leader.

“All this is about life and death,” he said. “This is serious stuff. At some point we have to leave our political hats at the door.”
In reality, the very position Cummings is taking could not be anymore partisan. Despite the mounting evidence that the ATF leadership is responsible for the Fast and Furious program, Cummings wants to give the agency more power. Such a position is hyper-partisan.

Read it all.

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