In the wake of stagnant job creation, an unacceptably high unemployment rate and growing concern that our country is marching towards another recession, the House Committee on Oversight and Government is continuing its examination of regulations that are acting as impediments to job creation. Late last year, the Committee began the most expansive look in more than a decade at the impact that regulations were having on businesses – large and small – the result was input from more than 1,300 businesses and their representatives across the country.
The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee has reviewed public-available data on the stimulus and prepared a comprehensive report that examines stimulus measures as well as how President Obama and his Administration “sold” the program to the public. On both accounts, stimulus failed.
This report explores the effect of Operation Fast and Furious on Mexico. Its lethal drug cartels obtained AK-47 variants, Barrett .50 caliber sniper rifles, .38 caliber revolvers, and FN Five-seveNs from Arizona gun dealers who were cooperating with the ATF by continuing to sell to straw purchasers identified in Operation Fast and Furious.
This report is the first in a series regarding Operation Fast and Furious. Possible future reports and hearings will likely focus on the actions of the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Arizona, the decisions faced by gun shop owners (FFLs) as a result of ATF’s actions, and the remarkably ill-fated decisions made by Justice Department officials in Washington, especially within the Criminal Division and the Office of the Deputy Attorney General. This first installment focuses on ATF’s misguided approach of letting guns walk. The report describes the agents’ outrage about the use of gunwalking as an investigative technique and the continued denials and stonewalling by DOJ and ATF leadership. It provides some answers as to what went wrong with Operation Fast and Furious. Further questions for key ATF and DOJ decision makers remain unanswered. For example, what leadership failures within the Department of Justice allowed this program to thrive? Who will be held accountable and when?
The Oversight and Government Reform Committee has conducted a yearlong investigation into the efficiency, adequacy, and accuracy of the federal response to the Gulf Oil Spill. This on-going investigative effort included three separate fact finding trips to southern Louisiana, Mississippi, and Florida, careful examinations of accounts provided by the Administration that directly conflict with the experience of federal and local officials on the ground, as well as a Congressional hearing. Investigators have interviewed over 50 federal, state, and local officials, as well as more than 50 residents of the affected region. The results of the investigation are documented in this report as well as a staff report issued by Ranking Member Issa on July 1, 2010, entitled How the White House Public Relations Campaign on the Oil Spill is Harming the Actual Clean-Up.
The Obama Administration has advanced an agenda that discourages development of domestic carbon-based energy resources. Administration actions include the threat of new federal regulation of hydraulic fracturing, withdrawal of federal lands, both on and offshore, from energy production, increasingly burdensome requirements for oil shale research and development leases, and a de facto moratorium on drilling permits. This strategy has added to permitting delays, created additional layers of review, and prolonged study periods. In addition, other laws such as the Endangered Species Act and the Clean Air Act have been used to further suppress domestic oil and gas production, leading to higher gasoline prices and growing dependence on foreign oil. The Administration has also proposed a series of discriminatory tax increases targeting oil and gas producers in order to subsidize its favorite industry: so-called “clean energy” (primarily wind and solar).
The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform has learned through the course of an eight-month investigation that political staff under DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano have corrupted the agency’s FOIA compliance procedures, exerted political pressure on FOIA compliance officers, and undermined the federal government’s accountability to the American people.
The Administration’s economic strategies employed over the last two years have not succeeded in getting Americans back to work in sufficient numbers… The President has reached out to several organizations representing business interests in the preceding weeks and months and has invited the heads of some of the largest national and multinational companies to share their suggestions for jumpstarting the economy. Businesses that responded to the President overwhelmingly reported that regulations are the barriers to pushing the economy forward and creating much-needed jobs to boost recovery.
Hand-in-hand with the powers expressly granted to Congress by the Constitution – among others, to legislate, to appropriate funds, to declare war, to raise armies, and to impeach – is the implicit responsibility to perform rigorous oversight of the Executive Branch.
Prior to his sudden retirement, Weiderhold contacted and met with Finance Committee staff on several occasions. During these conversations, Weiderhold described an environment where Amtrak management repeatedly interfered with the independent functioning of the Office of Inspector General (OIG).