File this under Not even remotely surprising:
Eligible to pick among a trio of committee chairmanships in the coming Republican-majority U.S. Senate, Iowa Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley has settled on the powerful Judiciary Committee.
“Oversight is too often overlooked as Congress focuses on new legislation,” Grassley told The Des Moines Register in a statement this morning. “So, anybody who knows my efforts in this area will understand that the Judiciary Committee’s work will reflect that sentiment. My goal is to promote transparency and accountability and restore the committee’s role as a true check on the massive and powerful federal bureaucracy.”
…Also, it will give Chuck Grassley endless opportunities over the next two years to put trial lawyers through pluperfect hell (thank you, Larry Niven). As the sarcastic Tweet below references, back during the campaign Bruce Braley pretty much doomed his Senate chances by telling a bunch of out-of-state trial lawyers that if Braley wasn’t elected then an Iowa farmer would be chairing Judiciary. And lo! Braley was a prophet, apparently. This is a remarkable opportunity for Sen. Grassley to simultaneously make his name shine among conservatives and make life miserable for a reliably Democratic (and not very well-liked) demographic: one hopes that he will take up this challenge with both hands, and swing it. Continue reading Grassley’s revenge? Here’s hoping.
Today, Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI) announced the Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS) targeting of conservative individuals includes a sitting United States Senator. According to emails reviewed by the Committee under its Section 6103 authority, which allows the Committee to review confidential taxpayer information, Lois Lerner sought to have Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) referred for IRS examination.
“We have seen a lot of unbelievable things in this investigation, but the fact that Lois Lerner attempted to initiate an apparently baseless IRS examination against a sitting Republican United States Senator is shocking,” said Camp.
Basically, what happened here was that Lerner got sent an invite meant for Sen. Grassley by mistake. So she immediately started sniffing around for a way to make a federal case out of it, and got gently smacked down by a colleague more aware of the pesky reality that you actually have to wait for somebody to break the rules before you can investigate them for it. Your tax dollars at work, folks: the IRS may not be able to follow the same document storage rules that they’ll enforce on the rest of us, but they’re absolutely proactive when it comes to trolling through your mail for a preemptive strike.
Moe Lane (crosspost)
As I said on Twitter: CNN. CN Freaking N.
Senate Democrats voted unanimously three years ago to support the Obamacare rule that is largely responsible for some of the health insurance cancellation letters that are going out.
In September 2010, Senate Republicans brought a resolution to the floor to block implementation of the grandfather rule, warning that it would result in canceled policies and violate President Barack Obama’s promise that people could keep their insurance if they liked it. Continue reading 2010: Chuck Grassley accurately predicts mass insurance cancellations under #obamacare.
To give a quick background: Operation Fast & Furious, of course, was an incredibly botched government program where federal law enforcement agencies handed over firearms willy-nilly to Mexican narco-terrorists and then lost track of the weapons… no, really, that’s what they did, and the next person who comes up with a legitimate and/or sane reason for them doing that will be the first. As you might imagine, Congressional watchdogs – Republican ones; the Democrats are largely hiding from this one – are a bit perturbed about this, not least because it turns out that the Justice Department gave out patently false information when asked about it the first time. Which is to say, DoJ denied that it handed over firearms willy-nilly to Mexican narco-terrorists and then lost track of the weapons.
At any rate, I think that the paragraph quoted below from the AP piece tells you everything that you need to know about why the official Obama administration’s response to inquiries about Fast & Furious is widely considered to have been insufficient, inexcusable, inappropriate, and just plain insolent: Continue reading Friday’s Fast & Furious Fallout: Fatal Falsehoods From Feds?
You’re going to see the below quoted text a lot, because it’s an excellent summation of the problem that we’re having with the Obama administration’s catastrophically incompetent Fast & Furious disaster*:
Let’s review: When we first learned about Fast and Furious, the news was that a number of assault rifles had been sold to straw purchasers. Soon, we learned that the number was approximately 2,500 and that some of those were .50 caliber sniper rifles. Then we learned that somewhere between 1,200 and 1,300 of the weapons were unaccounted for, and that the ATF had allowed another upstanding gentleman to walk grenade components into Mexico (I guess he ended up in Mexico: no one knows because the ATF lost him). And finally, we’re learning that just a few days ago, on our side of the border, U.S. Border Patrol Agents found rocket and grenade launchers, assault rifles, and C4 explosives.
(More here, including an observation that I’d rather not think about.)
Continue reading Operation Fast & Furious… Rocket Launchers?
(H/T: Hot Air) I believe that the quasi-pop reference here is “BOOM goes the dynamite:”
Congressional investigators tell CBS News there’s evidence the U.S. Attorney’s office in Arizona sought to cover up a link between their controversial gunwalking operation known as “Fast and Furious” and the death of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry.
Executive background summary, for those who don’t remember/aren’t following: Operation Fast & Furious was an incredibly ill-advised program where the federal government directed various law-enforcement agencies to permit guns to be illegally resold to Mexican narco-terrorist gangs. The above quote is referencing a situation where some of those guns were traced to the Terry murder scene: the email trail indicates that the ATF was aware of the link between the two cases from the start. This is important because the ATF later attempted to stonewall Congressional investigators out the link, in the person of US Attorney (District of Arizona) Dennis Burke. Continue reading Fast & Furious coverup in Arizona.
(Via The Sundries Shack) Let me summarize this LA Times article: Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was murdered in December 2010 by Mexican narco-terrorists. Agents of the BAFTE* investigating the shooting almost immediately discovered that some of the guns seized at the scene of the murder were guns that were supposedly being tracked by a joint BATFE/Department of Justice program called Fast & Furious; this program was deliberately allowing and encouraging guns to be sold to people who would illegally resell them to criminal enterprises. However, this extraordinarily awkward detail was not in fact mentioned to Senator Grassley, who (with Rep. Darrell Issa) is investigating Fast & Furious** – and apparently deliberately. Instead, BATFE claimed that no F&F guns were used in the shooting.
Let me highlight this point. BATFE knew that there F&F guns were sold to the people who murdered Agent Terry, because they found those guns there on the scene. But the bullets that killed Agent Terry did not come from those guns, thus giving what BATFE thought was a possible out: after all, they weren’t actually used, right? Just bought, brought along, brandished, and available: which is also a perfectly-viable definition of ‘used,’ but one that BATFE decided not to highlight, for obvious reasons. This novel use of the word ‘used’ was and is a patently nitwit notion, of course: the government’s culpability in Terry’s death was already set in stone when the first gun went off. But it was about the only notion that BATFE and DoJ has to work with. The American electorate gets really intense when a government screw-up gets its own people killed, you see. Continue reading Fast & Furious update: BATFE emails show stonewalling.
So. Somebody in the Obama administration is telling lies to the House Oversight/Government Reform Committee. That’s not smart. When people tell lies to House committees, people go to jail.
Background on this: this is all about the BATF/Justice Department Operations Gunrunner and Fast & Furious, which were originally purported to be methods by which [illegal purchases of] guns could be detected and arrested*. However, they instead turned into methods by which Mexican drug cartels were able to get their hands on [illegally-purchased semi-automatic] weapons. You see, the problem was that while selling the guns to middlemen (‘straw purchasers’) [who intend to sell the guns illegally] is in itself a standard ‘sting’ operation, somehow the guns continued on down the supply chain until they resurfaced in Mexico. The end result was inevitable: somebody used a BATF-supplied gun to kill Border Patrol agent Brian Terry.
As you can imagine, nobody in the BATF or DoJ wishes to be officially responsible for selling criminals the guns that said criminals used to kill federal agents, so there has been a remarkably comprehensive drive to stonewall the investigation; alas for the administration, the House of Representatives flipped last November. And new Chairman Darrell Issa is very keen to get to the bottom of this.
Hence, the lying. But who is lying? Continue reading Operation Fast and Furious’ fast and furious unraveling.
Via Instapundit, ‘Agencies stiff-arm GAO on info‘:
The investigative arm of Congress has been denied information repeatedly by various government agencies, indefinitely delaying lawmaker-requested probes, according to a letter obtained by The Hill.
The State Department, for example, initially balked at giving the Government Accountability Office (GAO) a list of sex offenders. Senate Finance Committee leaders asked GAO for a study on how many passport holders have not paid their federal taxes…
This really isn’t too surprising: I imagine that most members of this administration have passports.
…or are registered sex offenders.
I take the high road. Continue reading Transparent administration transparently stonewalls Congress.
Background information available here: the executive summary is that the Inspector General of Americorps was fired earlier this year, under circumstances that appear at best to be part of a whitewash of an administration crony. Senator Grassley (R) of Iowa has taken an interest in the case, and is making it clear that he’s not going away:
Republican Sen. Charles Grassley has blocked the ambassadorial nomination of Alan Solomont, currently chairman of the board of the government agency that oversees AmeriCorps, in retaliation for what Grassley says is the administration’s stonewalling of Congress over documents relating to the firing of AmeriCorps inspector general Gerald Walpin. Specifically, Grassley has sought, and been denied, information relating to the White House’s role in the decision to fire Walpin.
Solomont, a major Democratic donor, is chairman of the Corporation for National and Community Service, which includes AmeriCorps. His term ends in October, and President Obama has nominated him to be U.S. ambassador to Spain. The nomination was approved by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee last week and now moves to the Senate floor — except that Grassley has placed a hold on it, meaning it will go nowhere until the senator’s objections are resolved.
Continue reading Update of IG-Gate: Grassley holding up nomination until answers given.