Gowdy Talks Fast and Furious At Town Hall
Mulvaney joins colleague in Spartanburg.
For some stretches of time on Friday night, the town hall featuring Reps. Trey Gowdy (R-4) and Mick Mulvaney (R-5) had the feel of a comedy show. Greeted by a standing ovation from more than 200 supporters at First Baptist Church in Spartanburg, Gowdy and Mulvaney were at turns self-deprecating and effusive in their praise of each other. Each man lobbed crowd-pleasing barbs at leading Democrats, with Pres. Obama and Nancy Pelosi the most popular targets.
The session, entitled Faith in Free Markets, grew more somber however, as Gowdy described the ongoing and headline-grabbing Fast and Furious investigation and Mulvaney, who represents a portion of Spartanburg County, updated the audience on budgetary matters.
Gowdy, a leading member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, reviewed the circumstances that led that committee to find Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt earlier in the week. After Holder invoked Executive Privilege and declined to provide the committee with the documents it sought, the committee found him in contempt by a 23-17 vote that went along party lines.
After the town hall, Gowdy, the former solicitor for Spartanburg County, told Patch he does not believe Pres. Obama knew about Fast and Furious while it was happening. He believes the operation, which began in 2006 during the Bush Administration, was fundamentally flawed from the start. Gowdy noted that the Department of Justice during the Bush Administration issued no indictments and no arrests were made as a result of the operation.
Gowdy told Patch he believes a high-ranking official in the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms or the FBI or some other law enforcement agency re-started the program during the Obama Administration, but he does not know who that official is, which is the crux of his request for documents relating to the Fast and Furious Operation. "I want to know who thought it would be a good idea to sell guns to Mexican drug lords," Gowdy said.
Critics have claimed that the Fast and Furious investigation is a strictly partisan enterprise meant to damage Pres. Obama in an election year. Gowdy acknowledged that the investigation has now been politicized, but dismissed that as being the original intent. “If we just wanted to damage the president we could have looked into Solyndra, the GSO or the Secret Service,” Gowdy said. He also rejected the suggestion that he would not investigate a Republican president with similar vigor.
At this stage of the process Gowdy said the only reason for delaying the delivery of the documents his committee requested is because the documents could be damaging to Pres. Obama or some other administration official. “If you get an “A” on your report card, you can’t wait to tell someone,” Gowdy explained. “But if you get an “F,” you aren’t as forthcoming.”
Mulvaney described the ongoing struggles in dealing with the nation’s debt problem, tying them to the failure of dealing frankly with Social Security and Medicare. Beyond the mathematical challenges, Mulvaney said the biggest challenge for the country relative to the debt is to force citizens to demand elected officials stay true to the their word.
“We didn’t get in this situation because of Democrats,” Mulvaney said. “Both parties have kicked the can down the road for decades and the reason for that is because we have 420-some people in the House whose main priority is to get re-elected.”
Note: There are 435 members of the House of Representatives
Dealing bluntly with spending and entitlements, Mulvaney said, is a surefire way to guarantee electoral defeat. Nothing can seriously be done about the debt crisis, he said, until that changes.
After Mulvaney finished his remarks, Josh Kimbrell, a radio talk-show host who moderated the town hall, drew a comparison between the current state of affairs in the United State to those in Germany after World War I and prior to the rise of the Third Reich.
The evening concluded with a brief discussion of three key issues that will be adjudicated by the Supreme Court in the next week—a definition of what constitutes religious freedom, Arizona’s immigration law and, the Affordable Health Care Act.