Tuesday, January 31, 2012
AG Eric Holder Threatened With Contempt charge
The head of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee is threatening to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress if he fails to comply with congressional subpoenas for documents.
Holder has until Feb. 9 to comply.
In a four-page letter to Holder, Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., claims the Department of Justice has "misrepresented facts and misled Congress," which began its investigation of Operation Fast and Furious one year ago.
Issa claims Holder's "actions lead us to conclude that the department is actively engaged in a cover-up" because it refuses to comply with previous subpoenas.
If the department continues to obstruct the congressional inquiry by not providing documents and information, this committee will have no alternative but to move forward with proceedings to hold you in contempt of Congress," Issa warned in the letter.
Issa claims the the Justice Department has stonewalled the congressional investigation of the gun-running scandal that sent some 2,000 weapons to the Mexican cartels with the assistance of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
He wrote that Holder has only provided Congress with 6,000 pages of documents while providing some 80,000 to the Department's inspector general, which Holder requested investigate last year.
Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, Issa's Senate counterpart in the inquiry, said Tuesday that the documents sent to Congress are not even 10 percent of those received at the inspector general's office but the department has yet to explain why it is "withholding each of those 74,000 pages."
Grassley, responding to a Democratic minority report out of the committee on Tuesday, suggested that nothing coming from the Justice Department should be taken at face value, especially since Holder initially denied "gunwalking" had occurred but has since admitted to the operation.
Documents turned over late Friday night indicate (Criminal Division chief Lanny Breuer) was still discussing plans to let guns cross the border with Mexican officials on the same day the department denied to me in writing that ATF would ever let guns walk," Grassley said.
He stood mute as this administration fought tooth and nail to keep any of this information from coming out for a year. It will take a lot more than a knee-jerk defense from their political allies in Congress to restore public trust in the leadership of the Justice Department. The American people want to see those who failed to act be held accountable," he said.