The Committee on House Oversight and Government Reform will be having a forum today on the “Gunwalker” scandal almost guaranteed to fill any observer with disgust. It will be a markedly different than the previous hearings on the scandal chaired by Rep. Darrell Issa.
The hearings two weeks ago saw Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) agents testify about their role in Operation Fast and Furious, the multi-agency scheme that allowed gun smugglers to arm Mexican drug cartels with 2,000 or more weapons as federal law enforcement officers watched. Issa’s hearings included evidence of damning emails that showed acting ATF chief Kenneth Melson to be intimately familiar with the program, which has been blamed for the deaths of two U.S. federal agents and more than 150 Mexican police and soldiers.
The ATF’s parent agency, the Department of Justice (DOJ); the Department of Homeland Security (DHS); and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) were all directly involved in the operation, which could not even have occurred without State Department approval.
But the committee forum today isn’t about what Obama administration officials in the Department of Justice and Department of Homeland Security knew, or when they knew it, or about bringing those responsible for the dangerous plot to light to face accountability or possible criminal charges.
Instead, the minority forum by Democratic Rep. Elijah Cummings will be a forum for gun control activists such as Brady Campaign President Paul Helmke.
In an article at the Huffington Post, Helmke lays out the goals of the minority committee forum in no uncertain terms:
If California Rep. Darrell Issa and other congressional members who are in lock-step with the NRA bosses want to get to the bottom of the ATF gun trafficking operation, they need to start looking at their own actions and lack of action. By blocking and loosening laws to prevent gun violence they, too, are culpable in ATF’s “Fast and Furious” apparent debacle.
The gun control advocate very clearly indicates that seeking out those responsible for signing off on this reprehensible and possibly criminal operation is not the purpose of his appearance at the Democrat-led meeting.
Helmke instead seeks to shift the blame for the government’s deadly decisions onto the National Rifle Association (NRA), American gun owners, and the Republican and Democratic lawmakers who will not pass the laundry list of anti-gun legislation that has long been on the Brady Foundation’s list of legislative priorities.
In all practical respects, Helmke’s appearance has nothing to do with Gunwalker, and everything to do with demagoguery. It is safe to assume that the other anti-gun organizations that will attend the forum are likewise interested more in proselytizing than fact-finding or demanding accountability.
So why has Congressman Cummings called this forum?