Arizona Republican Rep. Paul Gosar told The Daily Caller on Friday that he thinks former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney should help push for accountability in the aftermath of Operation Fast and Furious.
“I think he does [need to be more vocal],” Gosar said in a phone interview. “I think that people, as they find out about this, are outraged. I think Gov. Romney, with his platform of accountability, needs to bring this forward to explain what is wrong and why his administration won’t be anything like this, outlying the checks and balances that he sees and how the Department of Justice’s role is not a legislative one, it’s about enforcing the laws that are on the books not picking winners and losers.”
Romney has brought up Fast and Furious only twice during the current election cycle. In December, he demanded Attorney General Eric Holder’s resignation over the scandal after initially balking at the question. In early April at the NRA convention Romney repeated that call and praised Iowa Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley and House oversight committee Chairman Darrell Issa for their work on Fast and Furious.
“I applaud Congressman Issa and Senator Grassley for their work in exposing the ‘Fast and Furious’ scandal,” Romney said in April, according to prepared remarks. “And I applaud NRA leadership for being among the first and most vocal in calling upon Attorney General Holder to resign.”
Those two comments hardly scratch the surface of the scandal that may land Holder, the nation’s top law enforcement official, in contempt of Congress soon.
Fast and Furious was a program of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, overseen by Holder’s DOJ. It sent thousands of weapons to Mexican drug cartels via straw purchasers — people who purchased guns in the United States with the known intention of illegally trafficking them somewhere else. (SEE ALSO: TheDC’s complete Fast and Furious coverage)
At least 300 people in Mexico were killed with Fast and Furious weapons, as were U.S. Border Patrol agent Brian Terry and Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent Jaime Zapata. The identities of the Mexican victims are unknown. Many questions about this scandal remain unanswered as the White House and the Department of Justice have resisted talking about it.
The Romney campaign has resisted talking about it, too. Romney campaign spokeswoman Andrea Saul has not returned requests for comment from TheDC for months and the presumptive GOP presidential nominee hasn’t mentioned the scandal in about two months.
But Gosar, one the House members leading the Fast and Furious charge with his official resolution of “no confidence” in Holder and an upcoming special order speech on the House floor, told TheDC he thinks this is a perfect issue for Romney to push.
“It is just the adjudication of law,” he said. “The fairness of upholding the rule of law and holding bureaucrats to the same level as everybody else.”
“We took an oath to uphold the Constitution but everywhere we turn this administration and this attorney general seem to be in constant attack mode against our Constitution and our basic civil rights,” Gosar said. “I think this is an election about getting back to the proprietary of what’s right and what’s wrong. And it starts with your chief judicial officer, your Justice Department.”
“The key message to America,” Gosar added, is that “you know, people today are scared of this government and the size that it’s getting bigger with, this unaccountability and the fact that the laws are not applicable to them and that they are just jumping all over the Constitution. I think this is a golden opportunity that could set the bar for Gov. Romney about what America is, where it needs to go and where it needs to come back to, what is right and what is wrong.”
Romney’s decision to highlight another Obama administration scandal, Solyndra, this week has sparked significant mainstream media coverage of the failed solar energy investment and the appearance of cronyism behind it. Romney put that scandal in headlines across the country – coverage that has led to an embarrassing gaffe from White House press secretary Jay Carney, and renewed interest in unanswered questions about Solyndra.
Gosar thinks Romney could help put national focus back on Fast and Furious, especially considering how Holder has demonstrably failed to comply with all 22 parts of a congressional subpoena for documents relating to the scandal.
“The more the media covers it, the better,” he said, praising several media outlets who have covered Fast and Furious in depth. “The problem is this love affair the mainstream media has with this administration and this president and trying to hide the facts of how inadequate their policies and understanding of our government actually is.”
“We need this to come to the forefront and we need accountability from the media as well,” Gosar added. “They’re here to report responsible, unbiased dictations to the American people, and I think once we can get that, we’re going to see a lot more streamlining of information as well as accountability for these individuals that have been so egregious in their attempts at destroying this country and its Constitution.”
Gosar said he thinks that if Carney was forced to answer questions about Fast and Furious in a similar manner to how Solyndra came up this week, the White House press secretary would only be able to utter a cartoon character response: “That, that, that’ll be all folks.”
“Then, I think what that does is it puts the focus and the spotlight under the magnifying glass,” Gosar said. “And, first of all, that’s why they’ve stalled: They have no answers. It’s because their hands are tied to the cookie jar.”
Gosar added that the “only reason this came to the forefront” in the first place about a year and a half ago was “the untimely death of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry.”
“And that’s what’s so sad about this: The despicable actions of this administration as a government against its people – and this is my backyard, this is in Arizona, and we’re fed up with this,” Gosar added. “We’re fed up because we have to deal with the consequences, our law enforcement on our city, county and state level, the citizens, their property, their lives are on the line here.”
Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul did not respond to multiple requests for comment for this story.