Photo: Associated Press
The threat of Attorney General Eric Holder being held in contempt of Congress looms as the Justice Department has failed to comply with the Oct. 12, 2011 subpoena issued by House Oversight Committee Chairman Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.).In the subpoena, Issa requests all of Holder’s communications on the “Fast and Furious” gun-walking operation, along with any communications between the White House and DoJ related to the operation.
In a recent letter to Holder, Issa makes it clear that contempt proceedings are definitely on the table.
“The Department’s unwillingness to recognise that an investigation into Fast and Furious is in fact a legitimate oversight interest signals we have reached an impasse and that contempt proceedings are necessary,” wrote the California Republican.
Although the DoJ has provided him with 7,600 pages of documents to date, Issa asserts that there are numerous categories in the subpoena for which no documents have been provided for.
The Justice Department begs to differ.
“The department strongly disputes the contention that we have failed to cooperate with the committee’s review of Operation Fast and Furious as asserted in the staff briefing paper and draft contempt of Congress resolution that the Committee released today,” Deputy Attorney General James Cole wrote in a May 3 letter.
With regard to the information Issa claims the DoJ has held back, a Justice Department official told POLITICO on May 11 that the documents were “the type Justice Department’s have historically not released because it would politicize or jeopardize ongoing criminal investigations and prosecutions.”
Another DoJ official claims that the redactions that Issa has referenced were unrelated to the “Fast and Furious” operation, where the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) botched an undercover operation resulting in the transfer of firearms to alleged drug cartel members in Mexico.
“The Fast and Furious scandal will be your legacy as Attorney General,” Issa cautioned Holder. “Only full compliance with the Committee’s subpoena will restore the faith of the American public that you intend to cooperate fully with Congress.”
The House Republican has received support in his call for contempt by Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), who is leading the “Fast and Furious” investigation in the Senate. The GOP seems poised to take advantage of any political fallout “Fast and Furious” may bring Holder and the Obama Administration. Republicans have asserted that contempt proceedings will begin if the DoJ does not comply with Issa’s requests by Memorial Day.
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