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.

My sympathies are, as they say, muted.


Moe Lane (crosspost)

*Short version: the USA allowed and encouraged the illegal sale of firearms to Mexican narco-terrorist groups; didn’t bother to keep track of the guns; didn’t tell the Mexican government that we were doing this; watched calmly as said narco-terrorist groups used their new guns to murder hundreds or thousands of Mexican nationals; and only went into panicked, CYA mode when two Fast & Furious guns showed up at the murder scene of American Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry.  Somebody needs to go to jail for all of this, and Eric Holder has been spending the last two years fighting any and all attempts by Congress to try to find out who.  Draw your own conclusions from that.

6 thoughts on “Meet Ronald C Machen, US Attorney for the District of Columbia.”

  1. “Allowed and encouraged” is understating it. When dealers called the BATFE with concerns about sales that had been approved by the FBI’s system, they were ordered to go through with the sales.
    And it wasn’t just about guns flowing to Mexico — Indianapolis dealers had the same experience. Unless Indiana is farther south and west than I remember…

  2. Oh — and how you like the ads Romney will be putting out with Obama complaining about executive privilege when Bush invoked it?

  3. Don’t forget shortly before all Terry’s, Obama and Mexican President Calderon agreed in a joint press conference that too many US-bought guns were going in to Mexico, and that the Assault Weapons Ban should be re-enacted.

  4. Moe, I’m sure that President Obama had nothing to do with “Operation Fast and Furious” and had no knowledge whatsoever of what Eric Holder was doing …

    The Washington Post, 2011/04/04:

    On March 30, the 30th anniversary of the assassination attempt on President Ronald Reagan, Jim Brady, who sustained a debilitating head wound in the attack, and his wife, Sarah, came to Capitol Hill to push for a ban on the controversial “large magazines.” Brady, for whom the law requiring background checks on handgun purchasers is named, then met with White House press secretary Jay Carney. During the meeting, President Obama dropped in and, according to Sarah Brady, brought up the issue of gun control, “to fill us in that it was very much on his agenda,” she said.

    “I just want you to know that we are working on it,” Brady recalled the president telling them. “We have to go through a few processes, but under the radar.”

    In the meeting, she said, Obama discussed how records get into the system and what can be done about firearms retailers. Her husband specifically brought up the proposed ban on large magazine clips, and she noted that even former vice president Dick Cheney had suggested that some restrictions on the clips might make sense.

    “He just laughed,” Sarah Brady said approvingly of the president. Both she and her husband, she emphasized, had absolute confidence that the president was committed to regulation.

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