Sen. Lee grills AG Holder, says faith impacts service


In this week’s  press teleconference with Utah Sen. Mike Lee, the Senator came out of the gates explaining his recent questioning of U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder’s knowledge of the “Fast and Furious” scandal plaguing the Justice Department.

“Fast and Furious” is the name given to a recent “gun-walking” operation that allowed for the sale of weapons from American officials to Mexican gun-traffickers. The intent for “gun-walking” is to trace the weapons to reveal trafficking operations. While the intent of this effort may be in good nature, “Fast and Furious” is alleged to be responsible for the death of Border Patrolmen Brian Terry, where two of the 2,000 guns sold were used in an Arizona shootout last December.

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Attorney General Eric Holder testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2011, before the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in the arms trafficking investigation called Operation Fast and Furious.
Sen. Lee said he expects government agencies to have a knowledge of operations that go on within them. Lee argues that the U.S. Attorney General should have had knowledge of “Fast and Furious”— if for no other reason — because Holder is the supervisor of the Department of Justice and as the head of that department, Holder should have an idea of the operations being pursued by the agency.

“The Department of Justice is required to get approvals for wiretap applications,” Lee said. “There were seven wiretap requests relative to ‘Fast and Furious’ that indicate knowledge of ‘Fast and Furious.'”

There are future hearings scheduled for further investigation into the “Fast and Furious” operation and the Department of Justice’s role in that program.

In light of current press attention being given to the LDS Church because of Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign, Sen. Lee was asked to explain his view of how religion will influence the presidential race and how the Senator’s LDS faith has impacted  his career in public service.

A recent poll by the Public Religion Research Institute found only 4 in 10 Americans identify Romney as a Mormon.

Lee said religion shouldn’t play a part in the election process.

“I think it’s a misunderstanding of what Mormonism is”, he said. “People don’t generally vote on the specifics of their [candidate’s] beliefs.”

Sen. Lee was also asked to explain how his membership in the LDS Church has influenced his service in the public sector.

“My faith as a Christian and a Latter-day Saint affects every aspect of my life,” he said. “I don’t think there is anything particular to my membership of the LDS Church that causes me to vote differently.”

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