The family of Border Patrol agent Brian Terry said Thursday that Michigan Democratic Rep. John Dingell – the family’s lifelong congressman – abandoned them ahead of the contempt of Congress vote for Attorney General Eric Holder over Operation Fast and Furious, which claimed Brian’s life in December 2010.
Dingell, a congressman who’s traditionally supported gun rights and has been somewhat supportive of House oversight committee chairman Rep. Darrell Issa’s investigation into Fast and Furious, abandoned his push for accountability when he told the suburban Virginia-based Politico website that “we don’t need contempt” to get documents from Holder over Fast and Furious – despite Holder’s failure to provide subpoenaed documents over the course of an investigation that has spanned more than a year.
“What we need is an honest thorough investigation so we know the facts and we need to see that these kind of things don’t happen again,” Dingell told the liberal outlet – a comment Democrats like House oversight committee ranking member Rep. Elijah Cummings have touted in their opposition to Fast and Furious accountability.
“Congressional committees and the inspector general are currently conducting investigations into this matter,” Dingell told The Daily Caller on one occasion. “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. 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.”
On another occasion, he said he thought “Operation Fast and Furious was grossly irresponsible,” and that “[o]ver the years, I have been a harsh critic of ATF. It is clear in my mind that ‘gun-walking’ tactics are illogical and should never have been used.”
“I was outraged the day I learned about this behavior, and I am still outraged to this day,” Dingell said in December 2011. “Furthermore, the fact that a constituent of mine, Agent Brian Terry, was killed in the line of duty because of this gross negligence on behalf of ATF makes this situation even more serious. Someone lost his life defending our nation because of the irresponsible decisions of a few.”
And, when the Brian A. Terry Memorial Act passed Congress with unanimous bipartisan support, Dingell’s spokeswoman said he was “sorrowful at the death of Brian Terry, a committed and brave public servant,” and that “Mr. Terry’s life and service deserves to be honored in the proper way, and Congressman Dingell is glad to see the passage of the Brian A. Terry Memorial Act.”
The Terry family disagrees with Dingell’s recent decision to side with the Democratic Party over pushing for answers on Fast and Furious. They say they’ve been “waiting for over 18 months for answers about Operation Fast and Furious and how it was related to Brian’s death.”
“If Rep. Dingell truly wants to support the Terry family and honor Brian Terry, a son of Michigan, he and other Congressmen will call for the Attorney General to immediately provide the documents requested by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee,” the Terry family said in a statement provided to The Daily Caller.
Dingell hasn’t demanded Holder give up those documents. He also refuses to back the five House Democrats who openly support contempt proceedings against Holder because he’s refused to provide Congress with documents – a sign he’s siding with the Democratic Party over a bipartisan rebuke of Holder’s stonewalling.
Terry’s family was particularly disgusted with Dingell’s use of their name in his partisan defense of Holder. “Congressman Dingell represents the district in Michigan where Brian Terry was born and where his family still resides, but his views don’t represent those of the Terry family,” the family said, pointing out that Dingell “invoked” their name in his defense of Holder. “Nor does he speak for the Terry family. And he has never spoken to the Terry family.”
The family said they haven’t heard from Dingell since “[h]is office sent us a condolence letter when Brian was buried 18 months ago.”
“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 Terry family added. “No one from his office called back.”
A spokeswoman for Dingell didn’t immediately respond when TheDC asked her for comment on the Terry family’s Thursday morning statement.
Politico’s report of Dingell’s defection from accountability efforts failed to mention any of his previous comments supportive of the congressional investigation.