The story Issa and the Republican noise machine blared to the public for about 18 months is that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF) had a "gunwalking" program where they knowingly provided thousands of guns to arms traffickers working for Mexican drug cartels. The supposed purpose of this sting operation was to track the firearms and eventually arrest the criminals.
The whole program was a failure. Nobody was arrested. Worse, Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was killed. His killing enlivened debate and gave Issa his opportunity. He called Eric Holder for questioning many times. Holder provided thousands of documents. But Issa didn't care about documents. He wanted a scandal. So did Republicans on his committee. So they voted Eric Holder in contempt of Congress.
The House is set to vote on this contempt citation tomorrow. Most likely Republicans will vote for contempt. Since the NRA came out in favor of contempt, a few Democrats may join. Yet, the whole thing is a farce. A Fortune magazine article describes in detail that everything we have been hearing about the Fast and Furious program is wrong:
"Quite simply, there's a fundamental misconception at the heart of the Fast and Furious scandal. Nobody disputes that suspected straw purchasers under surveillance by the ATF repeatedly bought guns that eventually fell into criminal hands. Issa and others charge that the ATF intentionally allowed guns to walk as an operational tactic. But five law-enforcement agents directly involved in Fast and Furious tell Fortune that the ATF had no such tactic. They insist they never purposefully allowed guns to be illegally trafficked. Just the opposite: They say they seized weapons whenever they could but were hamstrung by prosecutors and weak laws, which stymied them at every turn.
"Indeed, a six-month Fortune investigation reveals that the public case alleging that Voth and his colleagues walked guns is replete with distortions, errors, partial truths, and even some outright lies. Fortune reviewed more than 2,000 pages of confidential ATF documents and interviewed 39 people, including seven law-enforcement agents with direct knowledge of the case."
If you read the full article you will learn that much of the problem stemmed from the fact that the NRA has weakened gun laws. Now the NRA favors contempt? What hypocrites!
Republicans want to get rid of gun control laws and they plan to vote Holder in contempt because, they say, he allowed anybody to buy guns. Ridiculous hypocrites!
Fast and Furious Issa will probably get his wish: Eric Holder will be cited for contempt. But he and Republicans will suffer a fast and furious backlash.