Blood Money: Obama Contributor Ran Fast and Furious
Scandal: A campaign contributor who was an architect of the 1994 assault weapons ban was the mastermind behind the Fast and Furious operation that let guns walk into Mexico, including those that killed two U.S. agents.
Shortly after the murder of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry on Dec. 15, 2010, Attorney General Eric Holder's deputy chief of staff, Monty Wilkinson, received an email from U.S. Attorney for Arizona Dennis Burke telling him just that:
"The guns found in the desert near the murder(ed) BP officer connect back to the investigation we were going to talk about — they were AK-47s purchased at a Phoenix gun store."
It is an email that helps demonstrate that Holder, despite his congressional testimony — as vague, contradictory and misleading as it was — could not have been ignorant about Fast and Furious and its deadly consequences.
It also brings to light the name of Dennis Burke, a seldom-mentioned Obama campaign donor who oversaw Fast and Furious and helped convert it from a gun-interdiction to a gun-walking program.
Burke, who resigned shortly after the scandal became public, has long been a gun-ban architect for the Democratic Party.
As a lawyer for the Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee, he was behind the ineffectual 1994 "assault weapon" ban that sunset in 2004. Burke was also the chief of staff for Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano for a number of years before she became the secretary of homeland security.
Former Sen. Dennis DeConcini, D-Ariz., had high praise for Burke's 1994 effort: "Dennis had all these pictures of these guns — the street sweepers and the AK-47s. And it passed by one vote. A lot of it was not my eloquence on the bill; it was stuff that Dennis had done."
Burke also is an Obama donor, a prime consideration in the staffing of the Obama administration. Federal Election Commission records show that on Jan. 9, 2008, while working for Napolitano, Burke contributed $2,000 to Sen. Barack Obama's presidential primary campaign. Since 1997, according to FEC records, Burke has given $16,350 to Democratic candidates.
Burke would leave that Gov. Napolitano post to join the Obama transition team. He was soon rewarded for his many contributions, monetary and otherwise, when on July 10, 2009, the president nominated him to be the U.S. attorney in Arizona. The Senate confirmed him that Sept. 15.
In July 2010, Burke told the Arizona Capitol Times there had "clearly been direction provided already by President Obama and Attorney General Holder as to what they want to be doing."
That's an interesting statement, considering what Burke would do and how Holder and Obama would claim they were out of the operational loop.
As Fred Lucas notes in his excellent documentation for CNSnews.com of Burke's record, six weeks after Burke was confirmed, he was named to the attorney general's advisory committee of U.S. attorneys with a specific responsibility to report to Deputy Attorney General David Ogden on border and immigration enforcement.
Ogden's office made a significant change in the federal government's strategy on Fast and Furious. "This new strategy directed federal law enforcement to shift its focus away from seizing firearms from criminals and focus instead on identifying members of trafficking networks," House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Darrell Issa wrote in a May 3 memo to other members of his committee.
Burke oversaw this new strategy, which let guns walk into Mexico and into the hands of the drug cartels. The result was the killing of U.S. agents Brian Terry and Jaime Zapata.
The stench from all this arguably reaches all the way to the Oval Office.