Ensuring that the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) is truthful and forthright with ongoing Congressional investigations into Operation Fast and Furious, today the House of Representatives attached the Fast and Furious Accountability Amendment to the FY2013 Commerce-Justice-Science Appropriations Act. The amendment passed by a vote of 381 to 41. Sponsored by Reps. Jason Chaffetz (UT-03), Paul Gosar (AZ-01), and Blake Farenthold (TX-27), with strong support from Rep. Trey Gowdy (SC-04) and endorsed by the NRA, the amendment would prohibit DOJ from spending any money to cover up or conceal factual events, making materially false statements, or crafting documents that contain fictitious of fraudulent information.
Need for such a common sense amendment arose when it came to light that DOJ lied to Congress about tactics used in Operation Fast and Furious. In a letter to Congress on February 4, 2011, DOJ claimed that federal authorities make "every effort to interdict weapons that have been purchased illegally and prevent their transportation to Mexico," as well as denied allegations that the Department facilitated the illegal sale of guns to Mexican drug cartels. On December 2, 2011, however, DOJ formally withdrew the February letter because it was filled with misleading, fictitious, and false statements. The December letter even admitted that Fast and Furious was a "fundamentally flawed" operation.
"It's a sad day when Congress is forced to pass laws requiring the government to be honest," said Chaffetz. "Unfortunately, being truthful and forthright about Operation Fast and Furious is not something the Department of Justice has been willing to do. The Department's pattern of mysteriously withholding thousands of documents from Congress and then providing misleading and fraudulent information on Fast and Furious is shameful. While I'm pleased to see this amendment pass the House, I'm disappointed such action had to be taken against the department of government tasked with actually enforcing the laws of the land."
"I am pleased to offer this amendment which would provide greater accountability from Department of Justice with my colleagues Rep. Chaffetz and Rep. Farenthold," said Gosar. "This amendment ensures that Department of Justice cannot use taxpayer dollars to evade Congressional oversight. Americans deserve better than the recent actions by the current Department of Justice and Attorney General Holder related to Fast and Furious, which have made this amendment necessary."
"The Chaffetz-Gosar-Farenthold Amendment ensures taxpayer money is not wasted covering up lies by government officials," said Farenthold. "Even after a year and after consistently misleading Congress, the Department of Justice still refuses to turn over documents and information that could shed light on who is responsible for the transfer of over two thousand weapons to Mexican drug cartels. The American people and Agent Brian Terry's family deserve better from their leaders. It is time to hold them accountable."
"Congress has been patient - indeed too patient in my judgment - with the Department of Justice and its failure to comply with the lawful request for the production of documents," said Gowdy. "I understand that for some everything is political. But surely the Department of Justice can comply with a lawfully executed subpoena. The Department of Justice expects others to comply. What would happen to you if you ignored a jury summons, failed to comply with a grand jury subpoena, or ignored a lawful demand for documents from a congressional committee? You would be sanctioned, held in contempt, and likely jailed."
"Taxpayer dollars must not be used to stonewall the Congressional investigation into "Fast and Furious,'" said Chris W. Cox, Executive Director of NRA's Institute for Legislative Action. "NRA applauds Congressmen Chaffetz, Gosar, and Farenthold for their leadership efforts on this critical issue. "Fast and Furious' remains a stain on the American justice system and it is unacceptable that to date, no one has been held accountable for this deadly and unlawful operation sanctioned by the Obama administration."