Where is the outrage over Fast and Furious?

By: Rep. David Schweikert

It seems that despite the magnitude of the Fast and Furious scandal, there isn’t much outrage.

Arizonans don’t need me to tell them that Fast and Furious is a big story. This scandal started in our backyard — in the ATF’s Phoenix office — and was administered by a U.S. attorney appointed by President Obama.

Every step of this operation seems riddled with incompetence and dishonesty.

High-ranking U.S. officials used taxpayer money — stimulus money no less — to buy guns and ship them to Mexico. The administration claims these firearms were shipped to Mexico in an attempt to destabilize Mexican drug cartels.

A further investigation will help us determine if, in fact, the administration’s real agenda was indeed promoting gun control.

Not only did this incompetence sink the operation, it strengthened the cartels and destabilized Mexican security forces on the border.

In other words, under this then-secret program, thousands of guns were shipped over our borders and placed directly into the hands of criminals. Sadly, these guns can be traced to over 200 murders, including that of U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry and high-ranking Mexican officials.

Some have tried to say that Fast and Furious is simply a case of an overreaching federal government dropping the ball or botching an operation — that it was planned to do something different, that weapons were lost and that officials miscommunicated or were ill-informed.

However, as more evidence has come to light, it has become clear that this operation was not botched. The administration fully intended for guns to end up in the hands of Mexican criminals.

As an Arizonan watching this unfold in my backyard, I can also assure you this is more than feds dropping the ball. People are dying. American tax dollars are arming criminals and it seems the administration is trying to cover it up.

This is egregious.

Almost as egregious, is the fact that the mainstream media has largely seemed to ignore this scandal. Where is the media’s understanding of the scale of this operation? Where is the outrage for not only the actions of President Obama and Eric Holder, but for their inconsistent stories? Where is the outrage for the use of American tax dollars for criminal activity? Where is the outrage for the more than 200 lives lost?

There is a growing voice in the House, mine one of the strongest among them, that believes we need a special prosecutor to hold Eric Holder and the Justice Department accountable. We must put the facts together and properly lay them out on a timeline.

Let’s face it. If it turns out that our attorney general misled the House Oversight Committee in May, the honorable thing for him to do is tender his resignation.

However, the honorable thing for President Obama to do right now is to stop playing politics and come clean on what his Justice Department knew and when they knew it. Incompetence and dishonesty that cost lives cannot and will not be tolerated.

The truth of this operation must come out just as fast and furiously as it was withheld from us.

The main duty of our government is to protect her citizens. However, here in my backyard, taxpayer-funded weapons have taken lives. I do not know what else needs to be said for America to start listening.

Congressman David Schweikert represents Arizona’s Fifth Congressional District.

Republic knocks down “lies” from Stanton and his supporters

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 20, 2011
CONTACT: Daniel Scarpinato

Gullett says ad should be removed 

PHOENIX – The Arizona Republic today completely knocked-down statements made by career-politician Greg Stanton, and now by an independent group supporting him. The Republic went so far as to call the claims “lies.”

Wes Gullett is calling on the ad to be removed and for Stanton to stop deceiving the public.

The statements, used in a television ad paid for by an independent group supporting Stanton, originated in press releases and public statements made by Stanton. And they are repeated in a mail piece being paid for by Stanton himself.

“There just is no other way to say it: In asserting that Gullett lobbied the Phoenix council for a $100 million tax to benefit the arts, the ad lies. It also contends Gullett voted on the Phoenix Planning and Zoning Commission on behalf of a client, yet another lie,” the Republic wrote.

The editorial continues: “As The Republic’s Lynh Bui reported earlier this month, however, the Stanton campaign in August issued news releases alleging some of the same claims asserted in the TV ads funded by Phoenix Citizens United.”

“These outrageous claims have now been repeatedly knocked-down by independent journalists,” said Wes Gullett. “It’s time for Greg Stanton and his allies to stop deceiving the public and stick to the facts. Intentionally lying to the voters is not a good sign of how someone will operate as Mayor.”

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More East Valley Leaders Stand with Salmon

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 20, 2011

Mesa and Chandler City Councilmembers Tout Salmon’s Record and Experience

EAST VALLEY – Former Congressman and candidate for Arizona’s 6th Congressional District Matt Salmon announced today that his campaign received the endorsements from three more East Valley leaders. Salmon’s campaign announced the following endorsements:

Christopher Glover – Mesa Councilmember
Rick Heumann – Chandler Councilmember
Jack Sellers – Chandler Councilmember

Mesa Councilmember Christopher Glover stated, “Congressman Salmon is exactly the type of conservative patriot we need in Washington during these challenging times. He has experience dealing with the most pressing issues at the state and federal levels and you can always count on him to do what he says he is going to do. I am proud to be a part of his team.”

“Matt Salmon showed his courage and principles during his previous time in Congress and I know he will take these same qualities to Washington when he returns,” said Chandler Councilmember Rick Heumann, “Matt will help get the budget back in order – not just shift the burden, and I have full confidence in his ability to lead and accomplish great things for the East Valley and Arizona communities.”

Chandler Councilmember Jack Sellers added, “As a long-time businessman in the East Valley, I trust in Matt Salmon’s proven record of fighting for balanced budgets and working to create a business-friendly climate. As our congressman, Matt will be a great partner to businesses in Arizona and advocate for polices that will get our local companies hiring again. I look forward to returning Matt to Washington.”

Former Congressman Salmon stated, “I am grateful for the growing support I continue to receive from our municipal leaders in the East Valley. They understand firsthand the local issues that affect their communities on an everyday basis, and I am eager to help them face these challenges and assist them in whatever way I can in Congress.”

Councilmembers Glover, Heumann and Sellers join East Valley mayors Gail Barney (Queen Creek), Hugh Hallman (Tempe) and John Insalaco (Apache Junction), Mesa Vice-Mayor Scott Somers, and Mesa Councilmembers Dave Richins and Dennis Kavanaugh in supporting Matt Salmon for Congress.

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Congressman Trent Franks Endorses Eric Frederick for Phoenix City Council

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 18, 2011
CONTACT: Eric Frederick

PHOENIX – Last night, October 17th, Arizona Congressman Trent Franks endorsed Eric Frederick at the Arizona Republican Legislative District 4 Monthly meeting. Eric Frederick is running for Phoenix City Council against incumbent Vice Mayor and Councilwoman Thelda Williams.

Congressman Franks said, “Eric Frederick’s private sector experience sets him apart and will be a priceless asset in office. Phoenix desperately needs a leader like Eric that is willing to reform the way the city does business. His values and strong business knowledge will allow him to fight for the residents of Phoenix.”

Eric Frederick responded to the endorsement by saying, “I am honored to have Congressman Franks’ endorsement. Congressman Franks has seen the way politics as usual is in Washington and how devastating it can be. I am glad he believes I am the leader that can take on Thelda Williams and her Phoenix insider friends.”

Congressman Franks serves Arizona’s second congressional district. He was first elected in 2002 and has served since then.

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Pension reform or bust

by Byron Schlomach
Goldwater Institute

After a devastating series of prize-winning articles by Craig Harris in the Arizona Republic, the legislature took a first step to reform the state’s pensions systems last session. The changes – more tweaks than full-scale reforms – limited some of the worst abuses.

Public employees have to contribute more to their own retirements now and double-dipping (being on the payroll while also drawing a pension) has been limited. The real reform – eliminating pensions and moving to a 401(k) benefit with new employees – remains to be accomplished.

Shifting public employees into 401(k)s has become an issue in the Phoenix mayor’s race, as well as for the state.

At both levels, it is often claimed that giving new employees 401(k)s costs taxpayers more in the short run. But if that’s true, it is an admission that the current system is unsustainable and underfunded and we’re all being ushered down a primrose path to eventual financial ruin. After all, a properly funded pension system should not be a Ponzi scheme, ever dependent on new members in order to stay afloat. Instead contributions by current members, at any given time, should be sufficient to cover future pensions.

Think pension-induced financial ruin can’t happen? Then read the article “California and Bust” from the last issue of Vanity Fair magazine. The Golden State illustrates the risk of pension systems. They become larded with new benefits by politicians anxious to please voting public employees during good times. Then they become difficult to sustain during bad times.

Our state pension systems are in a sad state even with banner rates of return last year, and beneficial assumptions make them appear to be in better shape than they actually are. Job one for reform is doing the same favor for taxpayers that corporations did for stockholders years ago: put new government employees on 401(k) retirement benefits.

Dr. Byron Schlomach is the director of the Goldwater Institute’s Center for Economic Prosperity.

Learn More:

Goldwater Institute: Defusing the Pension Bomb: Making Retirement Plans Solvent for All Public Workers

Goldwater Institute: $50 Billion Tidal Wave: How Unfunded Pensions Could Overwhelm Arizona Taxpayers

Arizona Republic: Phoenix mayoral election 2011: Pension reform

NewsHouse: Arizona Republic political reporter receives first Toner Prize

Vanity Fair: California and Bust

Joe Biden’s Scare Tactics

Fresh from the RNC…

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