Rep. Darrell Issa has circulated a lengthy pair of documents making the case for holding Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress over his “refusal” to cooperate in an investigation of the ill-fated Fast and Furious operation. Issa is the chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. On Thursday, Issa sent a copy of the draft to every member of his committee as well as a 17-page memo outlining the history of the scandal.
“Operation Fast and Furious’ outrageous tactics, the Justice Department’s refusal to fully cooperate with the investigation and efforts to smear and retaliate against whistleblowers have tainted the institutional integrity of the Justice Department,” Issa wrote. Fox News
So far the committee isn’t holding Holder in contempt. But the documents lay out the case for contempt should members be called to vote. Charges against Holder say the DOJ has not properly complied with a subpoena sent Oct. 12, 2011, which listed documents requested in 22 categories. The department “has yet to provide a single document for 12 out of the 22 categories contained in the subpoena schedule.”
The draft order points to 3 categories:
Who among the department’s top brass should have known about the “reckless tactics” in Fast and Furious; how department leaders ended up figuring out the program was a bad idea; and how a special task force “failed” to share information that could have supposedly led to key gun-trafficking arrests.
Issa noted that “only 567 of the nearly 2,000 weapons from the operation have been recovered.” Fox News
It’s not known when Issa will press for action on the documents, sources say Issa wouldn’t have put his cards on the table unless he had sufficient votes to push a contempt citation out of committee as well as the consent of House Speaker John Boehner. Boehner and House Republican Leader Eric Cantor do not want to deal with a contempt citation against Holder because “it’s off message for them.” But they apparently told Issa he needs to issue a “report” before they would even consider it — which may account for the documents circulated on Thursday.
Since 1975, only one attorney general has been found in contempt — Janet Reno, voted to be held in contempt by the same committee Issa now controls. And the DOJ denies claims of being uncooperative with the congressional investigation, noting that Holder has testified more than a half-dozen times on the subject and that the department has provided a number of officials for congressional hearings and briefings. The department has also furnished more than 7,600 pages of documents.
But that does this all mean? It must go through the committee, then it goes to Speaker John Boehner. He then will determine whether or not to bring this to the House floor for a vote….chances are nothing will be done.