A Democratic congressman from Oregon says the Obama administration's failure to prosecute Cliven Bundy and enforce the law has emboldened militia movements and led directly to the current standoff at a wildlife refuge in the state.
"I think one of the most interesting analysis I'd seen was done by the Southern Poverty Law Center," Rep. Peter DeFazio said on Portland local radio XRAY.fm's Carl in the Morning. "And they said the abject failure of the Obama administration to enforce the law against Cliven Bundy and backing down under threats of violence, prosecuting no one, not collecting the fees, no removing his illegal grazing, has greatly emboldened and caused a proliferation of militia movements and I would say this pretty much a direct result of that. So, this time they need to enforce the law."
The congressman said an armed confrontation wasn't the right approach, but added that those occupying the building would need to be charged to maintain order.
"Look, I'm not gonna get into tactics," said DeFazio when asked if the militia wanted a fight. "Enforcing the law doesn't mean that we run in there with Humvees and engage in a gun battle, but it does mean that when this ends — hopefully peacefully — that these people will be prosecuted because they have broken the law. They shouldn't just walk away. As far as I know, Cliven Bundy is still engaged in grazing his cattle illegally and has not paid any fines and there's been zero enforcement against him."
The Democrat also compared the situation to what he said was the Obama administration's failure to punish Wall Street after the financial crisis.
"It's like Obama and Wall Street," he continued. "They don't seem to want to take on any lawbreakers whether they're white collar criminals on Wall Street or radical extremists in the West."
Andrew Kaczynski is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
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