Dem denounces Fast and Furious probe as ‘election-year witch hunt’

The ranking Democrat on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee blasted committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) on Thursday for conducting “an election-year witch hunt” on the Justice Department. 

Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) went after Issa in his opening remarks before Attorney General Eric Holder testified before the committee on the botched Fast and Furious gun-tracking operation.

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“Mr. Chairman, although you deserve credit for exposing these operations over the last five years, we part ways in what we should do next,” Cummings said. “You now appear intent on escalating controversy and promoting unsubstantiated allegations in a campaign that looks more like an election-year witch hunt than an even-handed investigation.

“Now that we have the facts, I hope we can put aside the politics and the rhetoric and focus on concrete reforms to ensure that this never happens again.”

Cummings criticized Issa for not bringing Michael Mukasey, who served as President George W. Bush’s attorney general from 2007 to 2009, to testify before the committee. Mukasey was the head of Justice during Operation Wide Receiver, a smaller-scale gun-tracking operation in which the same controversial tactic of gun “walking” was used.

“Although Attorney General Holder has answered questions repeatedly, you have refused to even interview former Attorney General Mukasey,” Cummings said.