Last month, the House of Representatives took the extraordinary step of voting to find Attorney General Eric Holder in both criminal and civil contempt of Congress over his failing to comply with requests for documents related to the Fast and Furious scandal. Even though the Justice Department, which Holder oversees, will not pursue the criminal charges, House Republicans have indicated that they will follow through with the civil charge.
Unfortunately, President Barack Obama has invoked “executive privilege” in order to conceal documents related to the ATF operation gone awry. Early polls indicated that Americans opposed use of “executive privilege,” but the Obama Administration has not back down from its stance.
According to a CNN/ORC International survey released Monday morning, 53% of people questioned say they approve of the House vote a week and a half ago to hold the attorney general in contempt of Congress for refusing to turn over documents related to a controversial program called Operation Fast and Furious, with one in three saying they disapprove of the move and 13% unsure.
Nearly three-quarters of Republicans approve of the move, as do a majority of independent voters, while a plurality of Democrats oppose the vote.
Perhaps just as important is that more than two-thirds of poll respondents — which as Jim Geraghty notes adults, not just registered voters — feel that the Obama Administration should reveal the document that are being purposely withheld.
The poll also finds that 61% feel that House Republicans pursued the charges to gain a political advantage over the White House. However, that point is largely irrelevant given that Americans agree with what action was taken.
Even if the move by House Republicans was politically unpopular, we’re dealing with the deaths of some 200 people, including Customs Agent Jamie Zapata and Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry, at the hands of drug cartels that managed to get guns with our government’s knowledge and apparent blessing. House Republicans were looking into this case even when the media was largely silent on the topic, so if politics are a factor, why pursue it at a time when no one was paying attention?
We’re also now learning that ATF agents surveilling straw-purchasers who were giving guns to smugglers to give to violent drug cartels in Mexico were told to back down. Unfortunately, we’re no closer to getting answers as to how Fast and Furious went on so long and how much the Holder or the White House knew.