Despite the rescheduling of a hearing this week, the House oversight committee investigating Operation Fast and Furious still seeks answers from Attorney General Eric Holder as to who were the top level administrators who authorized the program or had knowledge of the program, Rep. Tim Walberg of Michigan told Newsmax.TV in an exclusive interview.
A scheduled hearing at which Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz was set to testify about the forthcoming Fast and Furious report has been rescheduled for Sept. 19.
Walberg, a Republican, said the committee hopes to learn answers to questions its members have asked throughout the Fast and Furious case, such as who knew about the operation.
“We want to learn what we’ve been asking for all along from the Attorney General who has refused to be helpful to us,” he said. “We want to find out who were the top level administrators that authorized or were involved with or had significant knowledge or any knowledge about Fast and Furious--the ones who ultimately carried the day and saying, ‘Regardless of what ATF agents in the field are telling us that this isn’t gonna work, this is gonna end up in some serious injury if not death to border patrol agents, or other agents of the law’--why they were disregarded. We want to know that.”
“And we want to know how far it went up and if indeed Attorney General Holder knew about it. We want to know that if he didn’t, we want to know why. And now, ultimately that he knows, what he’s going to do to make sure this will never happen again because of the significant response to it, punishment, and otherwise.”
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Walberg said it is the Constitutional responsibility of the committee members to find the answers.
The people of the United States “have vested in us members of the US House as their representative the responsibility for oversight of all programs and agencies of the government,” Walberg said. “That is our responsibility. That’s Constitutional. That’s not just something we’ve attempted to take on ourselves and so when we have the highest law enforcement officer in the land refusing to enable us to do what we are constitutionally mandated to do and standing in the way of that over a lengthy period of time. Especially when it’s highlighted by the fact that an honorable veteran, honorable border patrol agent, and in my case also a homegrown Michigander, lost his life at the hands of criminals who used guns that were walked by our government and were not even followed.”
“I made a conjecture to the attorney general, that his unwillingness to answer our questions and give us information as needed gave credence to the fact that many people believing that it was done to discredit our second amendment liberties. He was offended by that and I’m not offended that he was offended by that. I’m just shocked that he would be offended because that is a concern we ought to address as well so hopefully we will see why the attorney general has held off for so long and we’ll get to the bottom of it and we can take action.”
Turning to the issue of the failed solar panel manufacturer Solyndra, Walberg said he has found no example of government loan guarantees being successful.
“We have further examples of failures such as beacon power, abound solar, under the same program, Title 17 plan, and again very clearly a situation of crony capitalism, of loan guarantees given out to entities that caused some in the administration to suggest that there had better be more homework done to find out if these organizations were feasible and if they could be successful,” he said.
He continued, “In Solyndra’s case, there were plenty as we understand it, there were plenty of voices saying to administration Solyndra is shaky at best and to give them this, to rush this loan, guarantee of almost well over $500 million that could be in jeopardy and the taxpayer will be left holding the bill. It is not advised.”
The House is set to vote on Friday on the No More Solyndras Act, which would prohibit any new loan guarantees from Title 17 of the Energy Policy Act of 2005. Walberg dismissed the talk that because the bill will surely fail in the Senate, House Republicans are using this as an opportunity to keep Solyndra in the headlines.
“I want to do it because it’s a responsibility I’ve been giving as part of the oversight and government reform committee,” he said. “I cannot control the Senate, I can’t control their activities. … If they’re not willing to deal with this abuse of taxpayer dollars, I can’t help but I can certainly help with what I’m responsible for doing with the U.S. House and with a committee chairman like Darrel Issa who has been known before this and now during this term as a chairman of the Committee as one who wants to get to the bottom of anything that abuses taxpayers dollars or trust.”
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