Michigan Democratic Rep. John Dingell’s staff told The Daily Caller on Thursday that it has no record of a phone call from the family of slain Border Patrol agent Brian Terry.
The Terry family released a statement saying that Dingell has abandoned the family by resisting the investigation in their son’s death in Operation Fast and Furious and by not responding to a phone call from one of Terry’s sisters looking for guidance.
In the statement, Terry’s family said Dingell’s office “sent us a condolence letter when Brian was buried 18 months ago” and that was “the last time we heard from him.”
“A year ago, after the House Oversight and Reform Committee began looking into Operation Fast and Furious, one of Brian’s sisters called Rep. Dingell’s office seeking help and answers,” the family added in their Thursday morning statement. “No one from his office called back.”
On Thursday, Dingell’s office replied to the Terry family’s statement.
“You can say on the record that Congressman Dingell’s office has no record of the sister [Brian Terry’s] reaching out to us,” a staffer in Dingell’s office told The Daily Caller.
During his House floor remarks, Dingell said he has plans to meet with the Terry family in the near future — in the next week or two, in person, in Michigan. When asked why the congressman has waited 18 months before agreeing to such a meeting, Dingell’s staff refused to answer on the record.
This week, Dingell, who originally promised to push for answers into Operation Fast and Furious, accused House oversight committee chairman Rep. Darrell Issa of running a partisan investigation — after spending the better part of the past year supporting Issa’s efforts.
When the time came to vote Attorney General Eric Holder into contempt of Congress for withholding Fast and Furious documents from investigators, Dingell pushed an amendment against the contempt proceedings that was used by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and House oversight committee ranking Democratic member Rep. Elijah Cummings.
Dingell’s office also refused to provide any evidence of his previous outspoken support for the investigation.
“I have every reason to believe the IG and my congressional colleagues are being thorough in their investigations, and I am confident they will do a good job,” Dingell had said at one point. “I am greatly looking forward to reviewing these reports, and if further evidence of wrongdoing by any parties is found then those parties certainly should be held accountable.”
His staff wouldn’t answer why he refused to join 31 of his Democratic colleagues in signing a June 3, 2011, letter they wrote to President Barack Obama demanding he direct his Department of Justice and Holder to comply with the congressional investigation into Fast and Furious. The staff also refused to say whether Dingell thinks Holder should provide specific documents the DOJ has been hiding from congress — including a specific March 2011 email that may end up being the smoking gun in Fast and Furious. Congressional investigators say the letter would prove senior DOJ officials approved gunwalking and that Holder and the DOJ knew a false statement was made to Congress nine months before it was withdrawn.
Dingell has been an ardent supporter of the National Rifle Association, which has pressured Holder for answers on Fast and Furious, and it’s unclear why he veered from them now.