WASHINGTON - Republican lawmakers leading the investigation into ATF’s flawed Fast and Furious case have scheduled a vote to determine whether Attorney General Eric Holder should be held in Contempt of Congress.
According to a spokesperson for Rep. Darrell Issa, the chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, the Committee will meet June 20, 2012 to discuss the issue.
“Despite what the investigation has uncovered through whistleblowers and documents the Justice Department had tried to hide, the Committee’s work is not yet complete,” said Issa.
“The Justice Department is out of excuses,” said Speaker John Boehner. “Congress has given Attorney General Holder more than enough time to fully cooperate with its investigation into ‘Fast and Furious,’ and to help uncover the circumstances regarding the death of Border Agent Brian Terry.”
House Democrats meanwhile, expressed disappointment with the planned vote.
“It is unfortunate that the Committee scheduled a contempt vote against the Attorney General when federal law prohibits him from turning over many of the subpoenaed documents,” said Rep. Elijah Cummings, the ranking Democrat on the Oversight and Government Reform Committee.
“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,” Cummings said.
“Chairman Issa’s latest maneuver is unfortunate and unwarranted, particularly given the ongoing discussions we’ve been having with Committee staff regarding a mutually acceptable resolution to their requests for information. The Committee has received information from the Department regarding how this flawed operation - and those from previous administrations -- were initiated and who authorized the," said Tracy Schmaler, the Director of the Office of Public Affairs for the Department of Justice.
“As recently as a few days ago, the Department staff and Committee staff were discussing a way toward a resolution of this matter. The Attorney General and the Department of Justice will remain focused on the critical job of protecting this Nation and the American people while Chairman Issa continues to play these political games at the expense of all Americans," she said.
In February, Republicans threatened the action if Holder did not comply with their requests for subpoenaed records from the Department of Justice.
“Why don’t you give us those documents?” asked Dan Burton, (R-IN), said in February, during a hearing. “The conclusion that I come to is- there’s some things in there that’s being hidden that you don’t want us to see,” he said.
“I don’t know if it involves you or some other ATF agents or some other members of the Justice Department, but this committee is the oversight committee and we have every right under the Constitution to check on what you’re doing,” he said.
Holder emphasized the number of records that have already been supplied to the Congressional investigators.
“The redactions that have occurred are only because there are things that are things that are either not relevant or are protected by grand jury secrecy rules, court orders that have sealed materials,” Holder said.
Copyright 2012 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
Did You Hear?
Jacqueline Simpson, 52, is suing the restaurant chain over a piece of glass she bit into while eating a chicken sandwich.
A man who was trying to protect his wife from a home run ball got a face full of beer for his effort.
Jim Heston, an American guesthouse operator in Cambodia, has lived a life in denim and has the photos to prove it. There were the dungarees he wore as a little boy, the dark bell-bottoms he had on for a hike up Japan's Mount Fuji, and the Levis straight-leg 501 jeans he's stayed with for the past 36 years.
A man convicted and sentenced to 26 years without any physical evidence or eyewitness testimony has one last chance to win his freedom.