Jun
20
2012
6

Meet Ronald C Machen, US Attorney for the District of Columbia.

He hates his life – or at least, he’s about to hate his life. You see, if Congress votes today to hold US Attorney General Eric Holder in criminal contempt of Congress today for Holder’s stonewalling on providing documents on the botched Operation Fast & Furious botched gunrunning scandal* then Mr. Machen is apparently the lucky individual who gets to bring charges up for a grand jury.  Assuming, of course, that Holder doesn’t blink before then and give House Oversight Chair Darrell Issa the documents that Issa’s been demanding ever since Holder got caught lying about the Department of Justice’s oversight of Operation Fast & Furious.

All of this puts Machen in an absolutely no-win situation: if the US Attorney brings charges, Machen will get an unbelievable amount of push-back from both the administration (which will be passive-aggressive) and the DC local political structure (which will just be aggressive). But if Ronald Machen does not bring charges then his career is over; the DC federal power structure values obedience to Congressional prerogatives a heck of a lot more than they value obedience to Presidential ones.  Presidents are ephemeral; even the successful ones have less than a decade of true power. Congress endures, and it gets mean when it’s crossed. (more…)

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