Advisory: Oversight Committee to Consider Operation Fast and Furious Contempt Report on June 20
WASHINGTON— On Wednesday, June 20, 2012, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee will convene to consider a report holding Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress for his failure to produce documents specified in the Committee’s October 12, 2011, subpoena. Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa issued the following statement on the scheduling of a Committee vote on contempt:
“Despite what the investigation has uncovered through whistleblowers and documents the Justice Department had tried to hide, the Committee’s work is not yet complete. Attorney General Holder has failed to meet his legal obligations pursuant to the October 12 subpoena. House leaders reiterated this failure in a May 18, 2012, letter. Specifically, the Justice Department has refused to turn over critical documents on the grounds that they show internal Department deliberations and were created after February 4, 2011 – the date Justice issued a false denial to Congress. Contempt will focus on the failure to provide these post February 4th documents.
“The Obama Administration has not asserted Executive Privilege or any other valid privilege over these materials and it is unacceptable that the Department of Justice refuses to produce them. These documents pertain to Operation Fast and Furious, the claims of whistleblowers, and why it took the Department nearly a year to retract false denials of reckless tactics. The Justice Department’s actions have obstructed the investigation. Congress has an obligation to investigate unanswered questions about attempts to smear whistleblowers, failures by Justice Department officials to be truthful and candid with the congressional investigation, and the reasons for the significant delay in acknowledging reckless conduct in Operation Fast and Furious.
“While the Justice Department can still stop the process of contempt, this will only occur through the delivery of the post February 4, 2011, documents related to Operation Fast and Furious and whistleblower accusations subpoenaed by the Committee. If the Attorney General decides to produce these subpoenaed documents, I am confident we can reach agreement on other materials and render the process of contempt unnecessary.”
Committee consideration of a contempt citation is a debatable and amendable measure. Committee approval requires a majority vote. Contempt is a process for enforcing compliance with a lawful subpoena and does not assign blame for the flawed and reckless conduct that took place in Operation Fast and Furious.
For more information, www.fastandfuriousinvestigation.com.