It's the 1990's. Janet Reno is Attorney General. Waco has happened. Columbine has happened. The Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms is aggressively pursuing cases out west of suspected militia members. The ATF expanded the cases to gun dealers as the Clinton administration wanted to pursue further restrictions on how gun dealers could sell guns. United States Attorneys were using these cases to advance their careers.Now, imagine you are an Assistant United States Attorney. The Columbine gun shooting happens. The loser in the U.S. Senate race in 1996 gets installed as U.S. Attorney shortly after Columbine and decides to rebuild his political career by aggressively going after gun dealers. The ATF conducts a sting operation on legal gun dealers and arrests several.But there's a problem. It's clear that the U.S. Attorney is pursuing the cases to rebuild his own career and again run for higher office. It's clear the ATF wants these cases in the headlines as the Clinton Administration begins a renewed push to cripple the legal sales of firearms.Even worse, internal memoranda confidentially circulating within the U.S. Attorney's office clearly state that the cases are weak and probably should not be prosecuted. What do you do if you are the Assistant United States Attorney?That's not a hypothetical. Ken Buck faced that exact scenario. And what did he do?He risked reprimand and told the defense about the memos.
[T]he case was weak enough that only one of the three defendants named in the 34-count felony indictment pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor.
Ken Buck was, in fact, reprimanded. The United States Attorney, Tom Strickland, had left the office by the time Ken Buck was reprimanded and the replacement U.S. Attorney found Ken Buck's actions were not intentional.Tom Strickland went on to run again in 2002 for the United States Senate and, with the collapse of his gun dealer cases (thanks to Ken Buck) and other issues, he lost.
You might know Strickland better as the Obama Interior Department Official who was whitewater rafting as the BP oil spill began to spread
The Jane Norton campaign is attacking Ken Buck for his actions in this case. She and Democrats are all saying Ken Buck behaved irresponsibly and should drop out of the Senate race.Me? How is it not awesome that a man risked his entire legal career to shut down political motivated prosecutions designed not just to advance the political career of a Democrat hack, but also designed to undermine the legal permitting and purchasing of firearms?This should qualify Ken Buck for automatic hero status, not pariah status. It says more about Jane Norton's campaign that she wants to vilify the man for doing the right thing. Or, I guess it says more about her campaign staff. They're the ones pushing out this story.It just makes me like Ken Buck even more.