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House Members Call for Accountability and Transparency for ATF Fast and Furious Operation

WASHINGTON, DC – Today over a dozen members gathered to demand accountability and transparency from Attorney General Eric Holder and the Department of Justice for the failed and flawed gun running operation “Fast and Furious”.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, November 15, 2011    

Contact: Apryl Marie Fogel (Gosar) 202-225-2315

 Catherine Fodor (W.Jones) 202-225-3415

 Amanda Nunez (Farenthold) 202-225-7742

Angel Sachitano (West) 202-225-3026

Karen Steward (Huelskamp-) 202-225-2715

Ben Carnes (Franks) 202-225-4576

Ellen Carmichael (Labrador) 202-225-6611

Carol Danko (Grimm) 202-225-3371

Brad Grantz (T. Murphy) 202-225-2301

Katelyn Costello (Buerkle) 202-225-3701

Jonathan Shuffield (Pearce) 202-225-2365

Stephanie Genco (Black) 202-225-4231

House Members Call for Accountability and Transparency for ATF Fast and Furious Operation

Today over a dozen members gathered to demand accountability and transparency from Attorney General Eric Holder and the Department of Justice for the failed and flawed gun running operation “Fast and Furious”.  After months of evasive answers by this administration and those in charge of this program nearly 40 members of the U.S. House, some of whom are participating today, have called for Attorney General Holder’s resignation.

The firearms Attorney General Holder allowed to walk during this unprecedented operation have been linked to dozens of crime scenes, including the murder of a U.S. border patrol officer and hundreds of deaths in Mexico.

Congressman Paul Gosar (AZ-01) “Attorney General Holder’s refusal to take responsibility for the actions of his department is inexcusable.  The American people need answers to how this operation was authorized and assurances that nothing like this can or will ever happen again.”

Congressman Raul Labrador (ID-01): “After reviewing Attorney General Holder’s conflicting testimonies, uncovered evidence and recently released documents on ‘Fast and Furious,’ it is clear that he is either lying or grossly incompetent. Either way, he is unfit to serve the American people as the highest law enforcement officer in the land. Mr. Holder can no longer refuse responsibility for the actions of departments under his purview that cost the life of decorated U.S. Border Patrol agent Brian Terry and that have put the lives of thousands of American citizens at risk. Eric Holder must resign, and responsible lawmakers and public servants should insist he do so.”

Congressman Blake Farenthold (TX-27): “The Oversight and Government Reform Committee has been trying to work with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Department of Justice and other federal departments and agencies but we have been stonewalled. There must be accountability and responsibility within the federal government to make sure nothing like Operation Fast and Furious happens again. American taxpayers have a right to know what happened, who knew about it, and who is ultimately responsible for Operation Fast and Furious going so wrong.”

Congressman Trent Franks (AZ-02): "To consciously allow these guns to be bought and transferred illegally displayed an utter lack of regard for human safety, protocol, or common sense. Since the tragic death of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry, at least eleven more violent crimes have been committed; all involving weapons carelessly gifted to dangerous criminals by ATF.  When Attorney General Holder testified before Congress this May, he claimed he had only learned about Fast and Furious a matter of weeks before the hearing. Official e-mail exchanges now confirm he received regular briefings on the operation, with e-mails dating as far back as July of 2010 -- nearly a YEAR before his testimony. If this isn't outrageous enough to justify Mr. Holder's resignation, I wonder what would be."

Congressman Tim Huelskamp (KS-01): “There are two options: either Mr. Holder is not telling the truth, or he is inept. In either case, he should resign.”

Congresswoman Diane Black (TN-06): “As I have said before: it’s time for Attorney General Holder to come clean with what he knew and when, and then he has to go.  I am incensed that the Attorney General of the United States may have come before a Congressional Committee, held up his hand to take an oath, and then failed to tell the whole truth about what he knew about Fast and Furious and when.  It is also deeply troubling that the Attorney General of the United States seems at best blasé about the death of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry, whose murder is linked to Operation Fast and Furious guns.  The American people deserve answers about this, but first and foremost, the Terry family deserves answers.”

Congressman Allen West (FL-22): “Attorney General Holder has proved time and again that he is not capable of being America’s top cop.  President Obama needs to realize that Eric Holder needs to be removed from the Department of Justice as soon as possible. If the President does not push Holder out, the President would be complicit in the Justice Department’s attempts to thwart a Congressional investigation of Fast and Furious.  This is just another sad chapter in the Eric Holder book of incompetence.”

Congressman Tim Murphy (PA-18): "The Fast and Furious gunwalking scheme carried out by the Department of Justice at the direction of Attorney General Eric Holder has resulted not only in numerous violent crimes against American citizens but even the death of Border Patrol agent Brian Terry. Beyond the inconsistencies in Mr. Holder’s testimony before Congress about what he knew and when he knew it, this investigation raises troubling questions about his judgment and ability to remain at the helm of our nation's top law enforcement agency. The appropriate and necessary action is for Holder to voluntarily resign. And if he doesn't do so voluntarily, I call on the President to remove him."

Congressman Joe Walsh (IL-08): “The American people deserve to know the truth regarding Attorney General Eric Holder’s knowledge and role in the Fast and Furious operation. Holder is either trying to cover-up when he knew of this disastrous operation or is too incompetent to serve as the chief law enforcement officer of the United States. Either way, he must step down immediately.”

Congresswoman Ann Marie Buerkle (NY-25): “Today, I stand with over 40 other Members of the United States Congress in calling for the resignation of United States Attorney General Eric Holder.  He has failed to uphold the duties of the Office of United States Attorney General and has lost public confidence.  The botched Operation Fast and Furious has harmed U.S. and Mexico cross-border relations.  The administration’s failure to coordinate its efforts in combating weapons trafficking has been a glaring omission in one of our country’s greatest national security interests.  It is likely to lead to a rift in the bilateral relationship with one of our closest trading partners.  Moreover, Attorney General Holder’s actions have illustrated disregard to the United States Constitution.  The 2nd amendment is a sacred right of individuals and, unfortunately, its integrity has been undermined by the Attorney General.  The Office of the U.S. Attorney General is tasked with upholding and protecting our Constitution. The U.S. government is responsible to the American people to hold Eric Holder accountable for his failure to properly carry out the duties of this office.”

Congressman Connie Mack (FL-14): "Eric Holder should resign Fast and Furiously!"

Congressman Walter Jones (NC-03): “Since the Attorney General seems unable to be honest with the American people, it is time for him to go,” said Jones.  “Mr. Holder’s tenure has been marked by troubling decisions, b ut in the case of ‘Fast and Furious’, it appears that under his watch the lack of judgment at the Justice Department may have cost people their lives.”

Congresswoman Lynn Jenkins (KS-02): “Fast and Furious was an inherently flawed and arguably criminal program, which appears to have been created by this Administration to validate their misguided theory on U.S. gun dealers.  Given the horrendous nature and terrible failure of the Fast and Furious operation under his watch and the lack of complete transparency from the Justice Department in the aftermath, the only prudent path forward for Attorney General Holder would be to step down effective immediately.” 

Congressman Michael G. Grimm (NY-13):  “As a former federal law enforcement agent, I take the rule of law very seriously, especially when it concerns the death of a federal agent.  I find it unbelievable that Attorney General Eric Holder was unaware of the details of the operation, and even more incomprehensible that the straw purchases continued on his watch without notifying our counterparts in U.S. embassy in Mexico of the details. Attorney General Holder has a repeated pattern of misleading members of Congress under oath, and Fast and Furious appears to be no exception. As a consequence, I believe he has lost all credibility with Congress and the American people, which is why I am calling for his resignation.”

Congressman Duncan Hunter (CA-52): “Fast & Furious isn’t the only problem facing the Attorney General.  At the same time he refuses taking any responsibility for a bungled operation that put weapons in the hands of drug runners, the Justice Department has gone ahead and prosecuted another Border Patrol Agent.  Several weeks ago, Agent Jesus Diaz was sentenced to two years in prison for lifting the arms of a drug smuggler while handcuffed.  The Justice Department asserts the smuggler’s constitutional right against unreasonable force was violated, even though Agent Diaz was cleared of any wrongdoing in two investigations.  The Department of Justice went as far as to seek out the smuggler and give him full immunity and other benefits in exchange for his testimony against Agent Diaz.  This prosecution is just another example of the misplaced priorities and poor leadership of this Attorney General.  America needs an Attorney General who’s committed to upholding the law instead of creating controversy.  And the Border Patrol needs an Attorney General who recognizes the danger on the Southwest Border instead of making things more difficult and dangerous for those doing the job.”     

Congressman Steve Pearce (NM-02): “Attorney General Eric Holder was not forthright in his previous testimony before Congress, and continues to raise far more questions than he answers,” said Pearce. “He provided contradicting statements on what he knew and when he knew it, regarding ‘Operation Fast and Furious.’ This is not what the American people deserve. Government officials should be held accountable for their actions, and must show respect for the people as well as their position. Mr. Holder’s actions are unacceptable, and he should resign.”