Question of the day findings: Attitudes towards Executive Privilege and Fast & Furious

July 03, 2012, 12:43 PM GMT+0

House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) recently criticized Barack Obama's assertion of executive privilege during the committee’s probe of the botched Fast and Furious gun running sting. Our latest Economist/YouGov survey indicates Americans are fairly divided in their view about the intentions of the congressional investigation of the Fast and Furious operation, though slightly more (49% compared to 43%) think it is about politics rather than finding out what really happened.

So we thought we’d ask our YouGov panelists for insight: Thursday’s ‘Question of the day’ asked visitors to the YouGov website if they thought it was a genuine investigation or just political rhetoric...and again the views were divided. Those who felt it was a genuine investigation argued that clearly there were issues outstanding in relation to what actually happened, and felt strongly that an investigation needed to take place.

But others claimed that the investigation was simply a chance to blow out some political hot air; that the Republican Party was looking to undermine the White House during an election year. Indeed, many argued that Issa lacks credibility, and the Fast and Furious operation occurred twice under Bush with no similar repercussions.

(Click on each argument, below, to see more quotes.)

Do you think the congressional investigation of the Fast and Furious operation is mostly about finding out what happened, or is it mostly about politics? Why?

“ FINDING OUT WHAT HAPPENED: A person’s death should not be taken lightly”

“The results of the operation led to multiple deaths including two agents of the USA. No one has come forth stating who gave the authorization for this program or for what purpose it was clearly intended.” Greg, Athens, GA

“ There are real Americans involved, people have died for no good reason, to just let this go would be a slap in the face to the family involved and the American people.” Mike, Palm Coast, FL

“An American citizen died and his family is entitled to the information surrounding his death, especially if his own government was involved. This administration has acted like it is above the law for the last 4 years. I've never seen a more corrupt group.” Jackie, Tucson, AZ

“The fact that someone was killed should not be taken lightly. Furthermore, this is now more about the cover-up than anything else.” I.J., Tampa, FL

“FINDING OUT WHAT HAPPENED: Wider implications of corruption”

“Because some in Washington feel that, the gun walking was a move by the President and AG to usher in more gun control in the USA, and I have to agree with them.” John, Detroit, MI

“Holder refuses to give congress relevant documents pertaining to Fast and Furious. Obama and Holder I believe are covering up something!” Vince P, Michigan

“From what we have heard, the main questions of the investigation have not been answered. There seems to be a cover up. President Obama is either involved or illegally used his executive privilege. The congressional leaders have to act.” Ellen, Bella Vista, AR

“POLITICAL: An attempt to undermine the White House”

“Because they don't have proof of anything. The Republicans are just attacking the Office of the President.”Caryol, Alene, ID

“The whole issue is over something that was done by the previous administration and the current administration. The only thing that has changed is that this is a political year and the Republicans controlling the House will stop at nothing to attack the President.”Ivan, Miami Beach, FL

“If this was such an important issue, why not attack it earlier? Why wait until now? I believe we have many more important issues to deal with without wasting energy and resources on this subject.” Rev Paul, Wisconsin

““The public is not told the fact of what is really happening and there is no real outcome, other than a lot of showboating of trying to embarrass the opponent.” Dave, Ellcott City, MD

“POLITICAL: Executive Privilege is justified in this case”

“I cannot remember when Congress has objected to Executive Privilege when international security was concerned.” John, Emporia, KS

“Executive privilege, in this case, is justified, as it is more important to protect the privacy of internal deliberations and enable the Justice Department to conduct its own inquiry without outside meeting.” CT

“POLITICAL: Darrell Issa lacks credibility”

“It started under the Bush Administration. No one has been summoned from them. Issa has no credibility; I wouldn't trust Darrel Issa to cross the street without stealing something.” James, Raleigh, NC

“Darrell Issa is a purely political animal.” Paul, Los Angeles, CA