With news that a draft contempt citation for Attorney General Eric Holder is circulating among members of the House of Representatives, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), who has been doggedly pursuing the facts in Project Gunwalker since it first came to light, released a statement concerning it.
Senator Chuck Grassley, Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, released the following statement after information from the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee indicated a possible vote about holding Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress. Holder has refused to provide subpoenaed documents related to the congressional investigation of Operation Fast and Furious.
Grassley first began investigating alleged gunwalking in January 2011 after whistleblowers came forward to alert Congress about gunwalking in Arizona. The Justice Department and Attorney General Eric Holder initially denied gunwalking occurred, but have since withdrawn the denials and admitted that ATF whistlebowers were right to complain about the reckless tactic. Despite the constitutional responsibility of Congress to conduct oversight of the executive branch, the Justice Department has stonewalled every step of the investigation. In fact, the Justice Department has provided 80,000 pages of documents to the Inspector General in connection with its investigation of Operation Fast and Furious, but has provided only 6,000 pages of documents to Congress. The department has provided no legal justification for withholding each of those 74,000 pages.
“The subpoena authority of the House Oversight Committee, and the Chairman’s willingness to use it, helped shed light on Operation Fast and Furious and the Justice Department’s desire to allow guns to walk into the hands of Mexican drug cartels. Congressman Issa deserves credit for moving forward on contempt. The Attorney General and the Justice Department are thumbing their nose at the constitutional authority provided to the legislative branch to conduct oversight.
“The Attorney General is facing a real test of leadership here. He has a choice to make. He can force the department to come clean, or he can force a high-stakes political conflict between the legislative and executive branches. It’s past time to hold accountable those public officials responsible for our own government’s role in walking guns into the hands of criminals. The family of Agent Terry deserves more than what they’re getting from this administration.”