Kelley & Co, Cory Gardner, June 8, 2012
Station: 710 AM, KNUS
Show: Kelley and Company
Date: June 8, 2012
Topics: Fast and Furious, Eric Holder, Darrell Issa, Attorney General, Department of Justice, Metro State, Tuition, Illegal Immigrants, In-state, Wisconsin Recall Election, Obamacare, Healthcare, Pharmaceutical, Drug Companies, 501-c4 Groups, Mike Coffman, Birther, Unemployment, November Election, Congress, Budget, Appropriations
[After commercial break, host Steve Kelley resumes his conversation regarding the Fast and Furious investigation of the Department of Justice and Attorney General Eric Holder. Along with co-host Murphy Wells, Kelley is trying to articulate the proper title and description of Eric Holder’s position.]
STEVE KELLEY: Cory Gardner, you’re a congressman. What do you call– this guy’s the Attorney General of the United States.
CONGRESSMAN CORY GARDNER: Yeah, he’s the Attorney General of the United States, he is the highest law enforcement officer in the country.
KELLEY: That’s what I — thank you! The highest law enforcement officer in the United States. Thank you very much. That’s why you’re a congressman and I’m just a schmoe over here on the radio.
GARDNER: Well, the end of the world is coming and you never know.
KELLEY: Seriously, though. Did you know—Yeah, right.
MURPHY WELLS: Sorry.
KELLEY: Did you catch that Fast and Furious – well, you’re probably tied up, but did you see him get in Eric Holder’s face?
GARDNER: Yeah, you know, I have certainly followed up today with what happened yesterday at committee, and believe that Darrell Issa is going to move forward by July [inaudible] whether or not there is contempt at movement and vote by the house committee. I, of course, have co-sponsored a resolution asking for his resignation, so, again, I think that Darrell Issa is doing a tremendous job getting to the bottom of what is happening over at the Department of Justice.
KELLEY: Oh, he and [inaudible], it was masterful. So we’ll play that for you coming up a little after this interview with the congressman. We can go in a number of different directions. A quick take, your view on Wisconsin and what happened.
GARDNER: Yeah, Wisconsin, you know, if this is the long, that slow decline, I believe, of public sector influence over elections. The first recall of a governor in the history of Wisconsin, and the country, they failed miserably. It wasn’t a close vote, it was a wide open margin. And I think this sends a strong message that people believe in free markets, and believe that the government ought to live within its means, and I think this bodes well for November.
KELLEY: Give us a comment on another topic, here: Illegal tuition break — Or illegals are getting a break. Fifty-eight percent at Metro State.
GARDNER: Yeah, I –
KELLEY: This is unprecedented. It didn’t pass, obviously, when it was put to a – you know, the representatives here on a state level, but it passed through this 7-1 vote at Metro State. An opinion on that.
GARDNER: Well, I read that in the paper this morning. And, of course, I oppose in-state tuition for illegal immigrants. I think it’s the wrong policy. It sets the wrong kind of message to people who are in the country illegally. And I think we’ve got to work on border security before anything else, and I think Metro State has it backwards.
KELLEY: All right. Now, one of the reasons we wanted to come on, the House Energy and Commerce Oversight Investigation Subcommittee – there are so many committees now, going here.
GARDNER: There are a lot of subcommittees.
KELLEY: There was a memo released recently, here, — documents outlining a series of intricate policy negotiations that were used to craft the healthcare law that folks like you – certainly we never saw. Go into that for a second.
GARDNER: You know, it’s absolutely shameful that three years after, one-sixth of our economy was taken over through the President’s healthcare bill. We’re just now getting a peek behind the closed doors at the White House in terms of how it was put together, who was involved, the deals that were made, and the kind of strong-arm tactics that were used despite the President’s pledge of absolute transparency.
KELLEY: Right. You’re breaking up a little bit there. Absolute transparency. Where was this not transparent? What was most glaring to you when you talk about memos and backroom negotiations? We’re familiar with, of course, the Cornhusker payback and all of that, but what haven’t we seen?
GARDNER: Well, what we are now starting to see through the series of emails, is a deal that was cut by the administration on a eighty billion dollar portion of the healthcare bill that dealt with pharmaceuticals and drug companies. And so, what we’re learning is that the House of Representatives wasn’t even involved in these discussions. The White House had promised that the healthcare debate would be televised, it would be open, it would be transparent, and yet, you know, what we have seen through these emails is a series of negotiations between pharma and the White House, and the White House’s absolute – you know, closed doors negotiations, trying to come up with a deal, threatening with certain policy provisions, making sure that they were using the bully pulpit of the White House press conferences to urge policies that they knew were against the pharmaceutical companies, all to try and force the pharmaceutical companies into a deal that the White House is trying to get, in support of the bill.
KELLEY: Mmm-hmm. Is this whole thing going to be moot, here, if the Supreme Court this month comes down striking down the mandate, which will effectively eviscerate Obamacare?
GARDNER: You know, I don’t think it does do away with the need for an investigation. And so we have an obligation to understand who was involved and how the deal was put together. We have emails that quote-unquote call this thing The Deal. And you’re talking about organizations that were pressured into funding 501-c4 groups that the President has called shady, these secret organizations that give out money and run TV ads – third party ads that he has been so publicly against. They were actually urging behind these closed doors that these companies give money so they could run advertisements for the healthcare bill through these shady organizations, in the President’s words. And so, this investigation will continue regardless of what happens with the decision by the Supreme Court.
KELLEY: Do you think the average voter out there, though, does get investigation fatique? Can the Democrats then play that, and say, “Look.” You know? “They’re just trying to discredit everything we’re doing.” You get my point here.
GARDNER: Well, I think the Democrats are certainly going to try to do that. But the bottom line is, the American people have always had a bad feeling in their gut when it came to – when it comes to how this healthcare bill was put together. And I — they want the answers and that is why this investigation is really getting legs.
KELLEY: Listen, we haven’t spoken since – and I don’t want to drag you into this unnecessarily, but Congressman, your colleague Mike Coffman and his comments. And I guess it speaks to on some level this whole idea of investigation and you know, qualifications and birther and Fast and Furious — it’s all kind of bundled together which really causes one to question anything that goes on in this White House. Have you talked to Congressman Coffman? We cannot get him to get back on the air, here, and it frustrates me to no end. I don’t know that he needed to apologize as vociferously as he did. A comment on that, please.
GARDNER: Well, you know I certainly talk to Mike Coffman and understand his frustration with the president. I believe the President, as does Mike Coffman, that the President is a citizen of the United States, born in this country. I think what you saw was somebody who is extremely frustrated with the failed policies of this president that is actually making our economy worse. You know, this country needed the president to succeed in 2008 when he was elected. We’ve now seen forty months in a row where unemployment’s been at or above eight percent. The jobs numbers that came out last week where unemployment actually increased. Mike Coffman, myself, and others are all extremely frustrated with the failure of this president’s policies to move the country in the right direction. And so, you know, I think he did what he felt was necessary, and I think he did the right thing. But again, the issue in November is what we are going to do to move this country in the right direction.
KELLEY: All right. Listen, we’ll let you go. What’s on your docket today, though?
GARDNER: We’re going to be voting on legislative branch appropriations. That’s a fancy way of saying we’re going to be voting on Congress’ budget.
WELLS: Have fun with that!
KELLEY: Wait a minute! Last time I checked, there was no budget! What’s going on with that?
GARDNER: The House continues to do our job. We’ve passed Appropriations bills, we’ve passed budget bills. They’re piling up like dead wood over in the Senate, and we’ll see what happens.
KELLEY: Right. There you go. Harry Reid, I hope you hear this. I suspect he’s not.
KELLEY: Congressman Cory Gardner, — highest ranking law enforcement official. Thank you for clarifying that for me!
GARDNER: Hey, no problem! Anytime!
KELLEY: All right. Take Care
KELLEY: All right. It’s Cory Gardner. 7:47 on Kelley and Company.