Republicans in Congress make fools of themselves yet again on a hearing that they are leading. Can't they take any issue seriously except for trying to undermine the rights of women or cut off funds to Planned Parenthood? When you're a hack,
June 16, 2011

Republicans in Congress make fools of themselves yet again on a hearing that they are leading. Can't they take any issue seriously except for trying to undermine the rights of women or cut off funds to Planned Parenthood? When you're a hack, you're a hack.

Rep. Daryl Issa made a mockery out of his own hearing on Capitol Hill when he tried to shut up his own frakkin' witness who tried to testify about an ATF program that went bad:

The head of the House Oversight committee muted one of his invited witnesses on Wednesday for testifying in favor of tougher gun laws.

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) said an ATF official's promotion of gun reform fell "outside the scope" of the hearing and "would not be considered valid testimony."

Appearing before the panel, Peter Forcelli, a special agent for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), told lawmakers that straw purchasers – those who buy guns on behalf of others – should be hit with stiffer penalties to discourage gun trafficking. "I think perhaps a mandatory minimum one-year sentence might deter an individual from buying a gun," Forcelli said.

He was responding to a question from Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.), who said the current penalties are so weak that they discourage state prosecutors from pursuing straw-purchase cases. Forcelli agreed the current penalties do little to intimidate straw purchasers.

That brief exchange prompted Issa to intervene.

"We're not here to talk about proposed gun legislation," Issa said.

Political Correction:

We're repeatedly asked whether Rep. Darrell Issa's (R-CA) hearings into a controversial ATF operation that allowed certain shipments of firearms to cross the border into Mexico would also address the weak statutory authority that law enforcement are forced to rely on to prevent trafficking to Mexican drug cartels. Today, we learned that law enforcement witnesses called by Issa are eager to discuss the issue, but the Oversight Committee chairman is willing to do everything in his power to stop that problem from coming to the forefront.

During this morning's hearing, Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) asked ATF Special Agent Peter Forcelli whether he has heard that district judges criticize the prosecutions of straw purchasers as "paper violations" because they are based on statutes that carry such low penalties. Forcelli replied, "I have, and I agree with it," and called for a one-year mandatory minimum sentence for such offenses to better deter purchasers. Issa immediately broke in to cut off this line of discussion, saying that the witness was testifying outside of the scope of the hearing.
After an extended exchange between Issa and Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) in which Cummings said that Issa couldn't tell the witness what to testify to, Maloney explained why this line of questioning is crucial.

ISSA: I'd only caution we're not here to talk about proposed gun legislation. That would be outside the scope of this hearing.

MALONEY: I wasn't discussing that. I was trying to figure out why the Justice Department and the [Inspector General] found that prosecutors often decline these gun cases. I want to know why they're declining them. And to quote from the testimony, one of you said because they believe it is difficult to obtain convictions in these violations.

Aren't Republicans supposed to be tough on crime? We're talking about guns being brought into Satan's backyard; or if you're not talking to Pat Buchanan---Mexico. Here's what this hearing is about:

Issa had called the hearing to examine a controversial ATF operation – dubbed "Fast and Furious" – that put firearms into the hands of known drug smugglers in order to track them to Mexican cartel leaders.

Hundreds of those firearms have gone missing and several have been linked indirectly to the murder of border patrol agent Brian Terry, who was killed in a December firefight in Arizona. Terry's family submitted a statement to Wednesday's oversight hearing, calling for the prosecution of everyone – even government agents – involved in the tragedy.

Why aren't the penalties for bring guns into Mexico relevant to the investigation? I guess his NRA buddies wouldn't approve.

Can you help us out?

For 18 years we have been exposing Washington lies and untangling media deceit, but now Facebook is drowning us in an ocean of right wing lies. Please give a one-time or recurring donation, or buy a year's subscription for an ad-free experience. Thank you.


We welcome relevant, respectful comments. Any comments that are sexist or in any other way deemed hateful by our staff will be deleted and constitute grounds for a ban from posting on the site. Please refer to our Terms of Service for information on our posting policy.