According to nypost.com, the chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee is building his case to cite U.S. Attorney General for Contempt of Congress. Darrell Issa’s making the move against Eric Holder for the AG’s refusal to hand over documents related to the ATF’s illegal Fast and Furious gun running operation. Issa sent Committee members a 64-page draft contempt order against Holder. To wit: “Operation Fast and Furious’ outrageous tactics, the Justice Department’s refusal to fully cooperate with the investigation and efforts to smear and retaliate against whistleblowers have tainted the institutional integrity of the Justice Department.” Ya think? “The documents specifically charge that . . .
Holder’s Justice Department has not properly complied with a subpoena sent Oct. 12, 2011, which listed documents requested in 22 categories.
According to the draft contempt order, the department “has yet to provide a single document for 12 out of the 22 categories contained in the subpoena schedule.”
Some key points:
– The Republicans can’t bring a Contempt of Congress citation to the House floor without House Speaker John Boehner’s approval. Boehner’s silence on Fast and Furious (a.k.a, “Guns for Goons”) has been deafening. Boehner might figure the public would consider the pursuit of justice (small and lage “j”) a politically motivated “witch hunt.”
– Perceived wisdom holds that the Department of Justice (DOJ) is stonewalling because the documents would reveal that the DOJ in general, and Eric Holder in specific, knew about Fast and Furious before the scandal broke. Before Mexican drug thugs wielding ATF-enabled weapons shot and killed Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry and Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agent Jaime Zapata (and dozens of Mexicans).
– The truth could be far worse. DOJ documents could prove that the ATF/DEA/FBI/DHS/CPB/ICE/ CIA and/or State Department knew about/participated in Fast and Furious and other pro-cartel gun running ops. Or worse: the President of the United States may have personally approved F&F and other pro-cartel black bag ops.
– Or worse. The above-named alphabet soup of federal agencies and/or the Commander in Chief may have given Mexican narcoterrorists a free pass to bring drugs into the U.S. and take guns and money out—in the name of stabilizing the Calderon government.
– Whatever the truth about these guns may be, the administration must have a closet full of skeletons to continue stonewall Congress and the media (CBS’ Freedom of Information requests have been repeatedly denied) to this extent.
– The Obama administration may decide to drag their heels on Fast and Furious right through the election. [NB: Richard Nixon was re-elected in the middle of the Watergate scandal.] I’m no constitutional scholar, but there’s some serious issues with a Contempt of Congress citation. Wikipedia is some help, but even Ralph would have trouble with this.
– Issa and Senator Grassley are not going to let this drop. Issa’s draft states that the Justice Department’s unwillingness to provide subpoenaed documents “inexcusable and cannot stand.” We shall see what we shall see.