Issa Statement on Bipartisan Vote Holding Attorney General in Contempt over Refusal to Produce Fast and Furious Documents

June 28, 2012

The U.S. House of Representatives has approved a resolution holding Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress over his refusal to produce Operation Fast and Furious documents subpoenaed last October.  The vote on H.Res. 711, making a finding of contempt, was approved by a vote of 255 to 67.  Seventeen Democrats crossed party lines to join the majority in the finding of contempt against Attorney General Eric Holder.  The House is also scheduled to vote later today on H.Res. 706, authorizing civil action in courts to compel production of subpoenaed documents.  House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa issued this statement following passage:

“Today, a bipartisan majority of the House of Representatives voted to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt for his continued refusal to produce relevant documents in the investigation of Operation Fast and Furious. This was not the outcome I had sought and it could have been avoided had Attorney General Holder actually produced the subpoenaed documents he said he could provide. 

“The Congressional inquiry into Operation Fast and Furious, and the cover-up by Justice Department officials of wrongdoing, has been a fair and fact based investigation.  False and partisan allegations by the White House and some congressional Democrats about the Oversight Committee’s efforts were undermined by the votes of 17 Democrats.  These Members resisted the pressure of their own leadership and the Obama Administration to support this investigation on the House floor.

“Claims by the Justice Department that it has fully cooperated with this investigation fall at odds with its conduct:  issuing false denials to Congress when senior officials clearly knew about gunwalking, directing witnesses not to answer entire categories of questions, retaliating against whistleblowers, and producing only 7,600 documents while withholding over 100,000.

“I greatly appreciate the ongoing efforts of Senator Chuck Grassley, his staff, and other Senators on the Judiciary Committee who have pressed the Obama Administration for the full truth.  Senator Grassley began this investigation and has been a full partner throughout it.  I must also recognize the hard work done by many of my colleagues here in the House – without their efforts the Justice Department’s stonewalling would have succeeded.  

“My message to my colleagues and others who have fought for answers:  We are still fighting for the truth and accountability – for the family of murdered Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry, for whistleblowers who have faced retaliation, and for countless victims of Operation Fast and Furious in Mexico.  Unless President Obama relents to this bipartisan call for transparency and an end to the cover-up, our fight will move to the courts where we will prevail in getting the documents that the Justice Department and President Obama’s flawed assertion of executive privilege have denied the American people.”

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