Game on, Mr. Holder: Fast and Furious Isn't Going Away
Exactly one year after the Attorney General lied in front of the House Judiciary Committee about the Phoenix operation known as Fast and Furious, Rep. Darrell Issa has distributed a staff briefing paper and draft of the contempt of Congress resolution against the sitting AG.
Republican members of the House Oversight Committee have laid out a compelling case citing Holder's Department of Justice for witness intimidation, "false denials," withholding subpoenaed documents and willfully obstructing the committee's investigation into the gun walking program.
The contempt citation comes after 16 months of hearings, letters, resignations, reassignments, a "no confidence" resolution signed by 89 congressmen and a DOJ official who pled the fifth for his role in the operation.
The document exposes Holder's abuse of office, his contempt for federal agents and the rule of law, and his disregard for the lives of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry, ICE Agent Jaime Zapata and hundreds of murdered Mexican citizens.
In the opening Memorandum, Issa credits the investigative bloggers and whistleblowers who began to uncover the deadly program back in December, 2010.
The Department of Justice's Contempt Against the American People
Much of Operation Fast and Furious remained a mystery when the Department of Justice forcefully dismissed whistleblower accusations and denied that anything improper had occurred to Congress on February 4, 2011. Why, after all, would anyone be so stupid as to think arming drug cartels was a good idea?
A congressional investigation and reports by journalists utilizing whistleblowers and other sources have shed immense light on what occurred and why... most of the information about what happened has come from whistleblowers and other sources with documentation that investigators have used to piece together the facts and confront officials who had responsibilities in Operation Fast and Furious.
Despite a subpoena, the Justice Department has refused to produce documents related to how this clear failure occurred through multiple agencies and the involvement of top Justice Officials who had responsibilities to monitor multi-agency efforts.
From the 48-page draft:
The Department of Justice has refused to comply with Congressional subpoenas related to Operation Fast and Furious, an Administration initiative that allowed around two thousand firearms to fall into the hands of drug cartels and may have led to the death of a U.S. Border Agent.
Those responsible for allowing Fast and Furious to proceed and those who are preventing the truth about the operation from coming out must be held accountable for their actions.
Having exhausted all available options in obtaining compliance, the Chairman of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee recommends that Congress find the Attorney General in contempt for his failure to comply with the subpoena issued to him.
Issa has his detractors on the Committee. Rep Elijah Cummings (D-MD) coming to the defense of Holder warned Rep. Issa not to pursue contempt charges against the attorney general.
Holding someone in contempt of Congress is one of the most serious and formal actions our Committee can take, and it should not be used as a political tool to generate press as part of an election-year witch hunt against the Obama Administration.
How can a congressman of Cummings experience dismiss 64 pages of factual evidence regarding the Attorney General, and other DOJ and ATF officials as a "witch hunt?" Eric Holder could have cleared this mess up a year ago, but apparently decided to let it spill into an election year for reasons still unknown.
Read more M. Catharine Evans at Potter Williams Report