March 3, 2012

GUNWALKER: Connecting The Dots On Fast And Furious.

Over the last thirty years, time and again, after a contempt citation was filed by either a House or Senate committee, compromise was reached before a full vote in the corresponding body.

During the Bush administration, Karl Rove and Harriet Miers were cited for contempt in the U.S. attorney firings, but a deal was worked out before a full House vote. In 1996, Clinton aide Jack Quinn (who would later conspire with Holder during the Marc Rich pardon) was cited for contempt in the Travel Office firings, but a compromise was reached before a vote in the full House.

In 1982, Reagan Interior Secretary James Watt was cited for contempt over documents related to Canadian energy policy, but a compromise was reached when members of the House were allowed to view them. But the exception to the rule of compromise or capitulation occurred later that same year, and would continue into 1983.

Ronald Reagan’s EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) administrator, Anne Gorsuch, was cited for contempt by the House Public Works Committee over documents related to lax enforcement of the cleanup of hazardous waste dumps. In December 1982, she was held in contempt by the House in a bipartisan vote, and was the first Cabinet-level official to suffer that fate. She resigned in March of 1983, and Reagan then gave Congress full access to the documents.

The previous month, Reagan fired one of Gorsuch’s top aides, Rita Lavelle, who was in charge of the clean-up fund. In April, Lavelle was cited for contempt by the House Energy and Commerce Committee and in May was found in contempt by the House in a unanimous vote. Lavelle was acquitted in federal court of contempt but later convicted of perjury for lying to Congress and served four months of a six-month sentence in prison. Twenty-two EPA officials, including Burford and Lavelle, lost their jobs over the scandal.

So now the current issue is whether Eric Holder should be held in contempt. The EPA scandal of the Reagan years, and other issues such as the Travel Office and U.S. attorney firings, pale in comparison to the deadly Fast and Furious scandal, along with its apparent cover-up.

Read the whole thing.

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