Federal judge rejects Eric Holder's attempt to keep Fast & Furious documents from House committee investigators
The purported "most transparent administration in history" lost another round in its efforts to hide documents form the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee headed by Rep. Darrell Issa. Josh Gerstein reports in Politico:
In a ruling Monday night, U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson turned down the Justice Department's request to dismiss a lawsuit brought by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee after President Barack Obama asserted executive privilege to prevent some records about the administration's response to the "Operation Fast and Furious" gunrunning scandal from being turned over to Congress.
"This case presents the sort of question that the courts are traditionally called upon to resolve," Jackson said in her 44-page decision, issued more than five months after lawyers argued the issue in her packed courtroom and more than a year after the House committee filed suit. "Dismissing the case without hearing it would in effect place the court's finger on the scale, designating the executive as the victor based solely on his untested assertion that the privilege applies," she wrote. (snip)
The legal fight arose after the Justice Department refused to comply with House subpoenas seeking information about the response to "Operation Fast and Furious," a Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives undercover operation targeting gun trafficking along and across the Mexican border.
The decision does not mean that the documents must now be turned over; rather, it means that both sides can argue in court over whether or not executive privilege applies to the documents, as the DoJ claims. The Justice Department had asked the court to dismiss the subpoena, and the court refused.
While we are preoccupied with the government partial shutdown political theatre, what could be a game-changing scandal is waiting in the wings. It is not certain that the House committee will prevail in court, but if it does, we will discover what it is that Eric Holder is so anxious to hide about the government's actions in sending weapons to Mexican gangsters.