Rapid Response: Issa Set to Push Through Extreme Contempt Vote Despite Assertion of Executive Privilege

Jun 20, 2012
Press Release

Chairman Issa is set to push forward with a vote to hold Attorney General Holder in contempt of Congress despite the Administration’s assertion of executive privilege this morning. Previous Chairmen have suspended contempt proceedings to conduct a careful and responsible review of executive branch privilege assertions before proceeding to contempt, but Chairman Issa dismissed requests from multiple Committee members to do so. 

For example:

  • When President George W. Bush asserted executive privilege over Environmental Protection Agency documents pertaining to the agency’s proposed ozone regulation, then-Chairman Henry Waxman put off a contempt vote scheduled for that day.  He said at the time: “I want to look at the matter further and talk to members of this committee to see what further actions we will take.”
  • When the Bush Administration asserted executive privilege in the investigation into the leak of the identity of covert CIA operative Valerie Plame, Chairman Waxman suspended the contempt vote. 
  • When the House Judiciary Committee held then-White House Counsel Harriet Miers and then-White House Chief of Staff Joshua Bolten in contempt, Chairman Issa  supported the Bush Administration’s executive privilege claim and told press outlets that the firing of the U.S. Attorneys “didn't need explaining to the public.” Asked recently about his statement, Issa’s spokesperson said that “the Bush administration used executive privilege in Gonzales’s case, while Obama hasn't done so.”
112th Congress