Gunrunner: House sues Eric Holder over Fast and Furious documents
The big news of the last few days–and rightfully so–is Mitt Romney naming Paul Ryan as his running mate, but lost in all that hoopla was a report that Darrell Issa was going to sue Eric Holder in civil court to force the release of documents related to Fast and Furious.
Today we found at that report was true: The House has filed a 41 page civil lawsuit against the Injustice Department asking the court to order the release of long sought after documents which might show us the breadth of the Fast and Furious cover up as well as what role Eric Holder and Barack Obama may have played in not only the cover up but the scandal as well.
House oversight committee chairman Rep. Darrell Issa filed a 41-page civil contempt of Congress lawsuit against Attorney General Eric Holder Monday, alleging that the Obama administration must turn over documents related to the Operation Fast and Furious scandal. A bipartisan group of House members approved contempt resolutions against Holder on June 28 for his failure to comply with a congressional subpoena related to those documents and other information.
Darrell Issa is also claiming Barack Obama exceeded his authority in sealing these documents using executive privilege:
Issa said Monday that he thinks “President Obama exceeded his authority by asserting executive privilege over subpoenaed documents related to the Justice Department’s cover-up of Operation Fast and Furious.”
Even John Boehner–who it had previously been reported had done all he could to slow down Darrell Issa and the investigation–defended the decision:
House Speaker John Boehner added that his chamber of Congress was left with “no choice but to take legal action so we can get to the bottom of the Fast and Furious operation that cost border agent Brian Terry his life.”
Because House leaders did not trust the Injustice Department to pursue the criminal contempt charge against Eric Holder the House also voted to hold Eric Holder in civil contempt. This proved to be the right decision as Ronald Machen, the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia, decided not to pursue the case for political reasons.
Holder’s Department of Justice directed Ronald Machen, the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia, to not enforce the criminal contempt resolution. Iowa Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley and others have argued that the move showed Machen is incapable of making decisions independent of political influence.
Because the House held Eric Holder in civil contempt Darrell Issa is now able to hire his own independent lawyers for the civil trial and theoretically these lawyers will be free from the political bonds which help up the criminal contempt proceedings in the first place.
We can rest assured that Democrats are going to claim that it is Darrell Issa who is the one acting for purely political reasons during an election year, but they would be well served to remember that if Eric Holder had complied with the original document request this issue would have been resolved about a year and a half ago. Eric Holder, with the help of Barack Obama, are the ones to blame for having the Fast and Furious scandal drag out into an election year.