The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, and Science held appropriation hearings on the Department of Justice’s FY 2012 budget requests. It marks the first time that Attorney General Eric Holder has been called on to testify under oath since the Project Gunwalker scandal has really erupted.
A video webcast of the hearings can be found here.
Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) is the Ranking Member on this subcommittee. She expressed her reservations about ATF’s Operation Gunrunner in her opening remarks (38:15 – 39:25). When it was her turn to question Holder, she asked him directly about Operation Gunrunner (53:45 – 56:00). He responded that “letting guns walk is not acceptable” and that he had made that clear to U.S. Attorneys and field ATF offices. He noted that firearms are different than drug or money laundering cases where investigators might want to follow the money or drugs.
Later in the hearings, Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) tried to get Holder to commit to supporting both a ban on standard capacity magazines and the “gun show loophole” (83:30 – 86:30). In both cases, Holder said they should examine the ban and private sales but wouldn’t commit to endorsing Lautenberg’s measures. He said the administration was looking at measures that would “respect the Second Amendment yet still protect law enforcement officers.” Lautenberg also threw out some poll numbers saying 69% of Americans support closing the “gun show loophole”. I presume these come from the same discredited polls put out by Bloomberg and his Illegal Mayors.
The website MainJustice.com also has a report on these hearings.
UPDATE: CBS News has better video of Holder’s answer to Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison’s question about Project Gunrunner.