House GOP leaders said Friday they are pursuing a plan to hold Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. and the Justice Department in contempt for “stonewalling” them over information regarding the administration’s failed Fast and Furious gun-tracking program.
GOP Rep. Darrell Issa confirmed to Fox News that House Speaker John Boehner gave him and others on his House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform the authority to drafted a contempt of Congress resolution. “We have a few other options (but) to a great extent we’ve been stonewalled by the Justice Department,” said Issa, R-Calif.
The news of the document and the extended meeting in Boehner’s office was reported first by The Los Angeles Times. “We have issued a subpoena,” Utah GOP Rep. Jason Chaffetz, a member of the oversight committee, said earlier on Fox News. “We have bent over backwards to be patient and take time. (Holder) is leading us down a path where we have no other choice.”
The resolution, if approved by the GOP-led House, could force Holder to release thousands of pages of documents related to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ program.
Holder and other Justice Department officials say they are cooperating with Congress’ investigators.
The Fast and Furious program was run by the ATF’s Phoenix office from 2009 until early 2011. It allowed illegal gun purchases with the expectation of tracking the weapons to Mexican drug cartel leaders.
However, hundreds of guns disappeared, with some eventually turning up at crime scenes in Mexico.
“The Justice Department has not fully cooperated with the investigation into gunwalking that occurred in Operation Fast and Furious.The House Oversight Committee continues to make necessary preparations to hold Attorney General Holder in contempt if the Justice Department refuses to change course and stop blocking access to critical documents,” a House Oversight Committee spokesperson said.
“While the committee continues to move toward consideration of contempt, it is important to note that the next step in the process of contempt must be made by the Oversight committee Reports, based on anonymous sources, that decisions for consideration of contempt on the House floor have already been made are inaccurate.”
Issa said investigator still want to know the names of those worked in the program.
Two were found where U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was shot to death south of Tucson in December 2010. A number of illegal straw purchasers have been indicted, and two others are charged in Terry’s slaying, according to the Times.