House pursue civil contempt charge against Holder
As noted on Thursday, the House of Representatives voted to find Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress. The first vote, which found 17 Democrats voting with 238 Republicans, was for criminal contempt. The Department of Justice has already indicated that it will not prosecute Holder, who heads the department.
The second vote, however, was for civil contempt, which gives House Republicans a better chance of investigating Holder for his defiance of a congressional inquiry over the Operation Fast and Furious scandal, in which the ATF allowed firearms and munitions to freely cross into Mexico.
According to the House Oversight and Government Affairs Committee, which is chaired by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), Holder has turned over 7,600-pages of documents more than 100,000 sought in the congressional investigation. The committee notes that “[m]any of these 7,600 pages have little value – many were already public and others have been nearly completely redacted.”
Speaker John Boehner insisted yesterday that the House will take Holder to court, but the future of any case is murky thanks to President Barack Obama shielding Holder through use of “executive privilege.” Because of the legal terrority in which the Republicans now finds themselves, it’s unclear whether or not the documents sought will ever be produced.
Obama has talked a lot about transparency, both as a candidate and as president. In 2008, Obama slammed his predecessor as “one of the most secretive administrations in our history [that] favored special interests and pursued policies that could not stand up to the sunlight.” Obama continued, “As president, I’m going to change that.”
Unfortunately, the last four years, President Obama has not lived up to his promise. Back in March, Politico noted that the Obama Administration has, among other things, fought against Freedom of Information Act request and has targeted whistle-blowers for prosecution.
Some of the more than 2,000 guns involved in Operation Fast and Furious, some of which were purchased by convicted felons, wound up in the hands of violent drug cartels and have been connected to the deaths of some 200 people, including Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry. Yet, Attorney General Holder and President Obama are still sitting on their hands, hiding crucial details of Fast and Furious from Americans and preventing the families involved, including the family of Mr. Terry, from gaining closure.