A Congressional House Committee has voted to hold President Obama’s Attorney General, Eric Holder in Contempt of Congress, for refusing to hand over documents, critical to their investigation of his office. The charge, could land the Attorney General behind bars. The Committee is investigating an ATF program called Fast and Furious, which allowed guns to be sold into Mexico with the hope of tracking them. But when the guns went missing and one of the weapons was implicated in the death of a border agent, congress became involved.
The irony over Fast and Furious is that Eric Holder shut down the program, almost as soon as he heard about it. Some have questioned the motivations behind the investigation which is led by Chairman Darryl Issa, who denounced the President’s administration as the most corrupt in history, long before he ever investigated any activity.
Some have also noted that Operation Fast and Furious was a continuation of a Bush era program called Operation Wide Receiver. The Committee Investigating Holder has refused to call Bush officials, suggesting that their motivations are partisan in nature. Critics wonder, how Republicans can object to a tactic that originated under their leadership.
The public discussion, in right wing circles seems to fault Eric Holder for the program going awry. The AG is not in operational control of ATF programs. In fact, Issa’s investigation actually may impede Holder’s own attempts to investigate who authorized Fast and Furious and how the weapons were lost.
The investigation of Holder is being interpreted by some, as attempt to entrap the AG in legalisms. At several points, the House Committee has demanded documents of Holder that he was legally barred from providing. Incredibly, the Committee could fault him for not providing the documents or charge him with breaking the law if he did comply with their request. Now, after several document dumps by the AG, the Committee is demanding even more documents. And the AG has requested the President evoke executive privilege over the classified documents.
If the House supports the committee’s vote, it will be the first time in history that an Attorney General has been found in contempt of congress.