Fast & Furious: Eric Holder’s Contempt For Contempt

Last year, the 112th Congress voted to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in Contempt of Congress, following months of patience on the part of the House Oversight Committee, after he would not turn over tens of thousands of pages of documents related to Operation Fast and Furious. The 113th Congress resolved to continue the investigation and continue to pursue contempt charges against Holder in civil court after Deputy Attorney General James M. Cole informed Congress that they would not prosecute Holder for Contempt.

Back in November Holder used Department of Justice attorneys to try and provide a settlement to the issue with the Committee, but nothing came of it.

In a recent interview with ABC’s Pierre Thomas, Holder recounts his contempt for the contempt vote by House Republicans, along with 17 Democrats, in the ongoing “Fast and Furious” scandal.

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“It’s something that I think was unfortunate,” Holder said. “I think it’s a result of this kind of partisan sport that I think we engage in here in Washington far too often.”

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Holder said the votes it didn’t bother him, considering who cast them.

“But I have to tell you that for me to really be affected by what happened, I’d have to have respect for the people who voted in that way,” Holder told ABC News. “And I didn’t, so it didn’t have that huge an impact on me.”

Respect? The issue was not respect. The issue was to demonstrate that though one is the head of the Department of Justice, he is not above the law. Both Eric Holder and Barack Obama think they are above the law. There can be no doubt that Obama’s use of executive privilege, which he formerly attacked when George W. Bush was president, was used to shield Holder and the subpoenaed documents from Congress and the American people. After all, to quote Barack Obama, “The only people that don’t want to disclose the truth, are people with something to hide.”

issaHolder still maintains that the DOJ has consistently complied with Chairman Darrell Issa’s (R-CA) requests. That is certainly very hard to believe when much of the documentation provided to the House Reform Committee were nothing more than black pieces of paper due to being heavily redacted.

Currently the civil case against Holder is pushing forward. Calls to Issa’s office and the office of the committee he chairs indicates that we will know about a week in advance of when court proceedings will begin.

UPDDATE: Issa issued a response to Holder’s comments.

“Attorney General Holder’s admission that he does not respect the Democratic and Republican Members of Congress who voted to hold him in contempt offers a window into why Washington is so dysfunctional,” said Chairman Issa. “President Obama once campaigned as someone who wanted to bring America together but instead appointed divisive and highly partisan figures like Attorney General Holder who are arrogantly dismissive of those who question them and demand transparency.

“Finding out why the Justice Department made false denials about Operation Fast and Furious, and only corrected the record after ten months of public pressure, is a legitimate exercise of congressional authority. The Attorney General clearly believes he is above the law and is not accountable to the duly elected representatives of the American people or the institutions of our democracy.”

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