House committee schedules contempt vote against Attorney General Eric HolderHouse moving to hold Holder in contempt
The House of Representatives is moving forward with proceedings to hold Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. in contempt of Congress — a major escalation in the separation-of-powers battle over “Fast and Furious,” the Obama administration's botched gun-walking operation.
Rep. Darrell E. Issa, California Republican and chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said his panel will take up the contempt issue next week, and the move has the blessing of House Speaker John A. Boehner, Ohio Republican.
By Stephen Dinan-
The Washington Times
Updated: 12:52 p.m. on Monday, June 11, 2012
The Justice Department is out of excuses,” Mr. Boehner said in a statement Monday morning. “Either the Justice Department turns over the information requested, orCongress will have no choice but to move forward with holding the Attorney General in contempt for obstructing an ongoing investigation.”
Both Mr. Holder and President Obama have acknowledged the operation — which allowed guns to be sold to straw purchasers in the U.S. with the knowledge they were being sent across the border to Mexican cartels — was wrong. But they said the operation was handled entirely by Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives employees, with little oversight at the Justice Department.
"]Mr. Issa, though, is investigating who in the Justice Department knew of the operation’s tactics. He has obtained sealed affidavits supporting wiretaps that he says indicate top Justice officials knew the tactics.
His committee issued a subpoena for documents in October, and Mr. Issa said Monday that the Justice Department[ still is withholding information in violation of that.
“Specifically, the Justice Department has refused to turn over critical documents on the grounds that they show internal Department deliberations and were created after February 4, 2011 — the date Justice issued a false denial to Congress Contempt will focus on the failure to provide these post February 4th documents,”Mr. Issa said.
Mr. Issa said the Justice Department hasn’t asserted any valid reasons to withhold information.
The Justice Department didn’t return a request for comment Monday morning.
Last week, Mr. Holder told another House panel he would be willing to sit down with Mr. Boehner Mr. Issa and other House Republican leaders to try to work out a solution.
Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, ranking Democrat on the oversight committee, defended Mr. Holder, saying federal law prevents him from turning over some of the documents the GOP is seeking. But he said he sees a possible middle ground.
“I am guardedly optimistic that a path forward exists that will serve the legitimate interests of the committee in conducting rigorous oversight, protect the legitimate interests of the department in its ongoing investigations and prosecutions, and avoid the needless politicization of this very serious issue,” he said.
This would be the first time the Obama administration[/URL] has faced contempt of Congress proceedings.
House Democrats approved a contempt resolution against former White House adviser Karl Rove in 2008, seeking an interview with him on his role in the firing of U.S. attorneys. Mr. Rove refused an on-the-record sworn interview with congressional investigators.
The House voted 223-32 to hold him in contempt, with most Republicans boycotting the vote.
In 2009, after President George W. Bush left office, Democrats and former Bush officials reached an agreement to produce documents and on-the-record testimony.This article was originally published in forum thread: House committee schedules contempt vote against Attorney General Eric Holder started by Newmexican View original post