As House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., moved closer to beginning a contempt-of-Congress process against Attorney General Eric Holder, Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, reaffirmed his strong support of the investigation of the Department of Justice gun-tracing operation known as “Fast and Furious.”
Issa spokesman Michael Steel rebuffed rumors that circulated during the recent Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington claiming Boehner had learned from his time as a young congressman under then-Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich that it is unwise for a Republican majority in the House to oppose a sitting Democratic Party president.
“Such speculation is absurd and untrue,” Steel told WND in an email.
Boehner confirmed as much, himself, today at a news conference.
The speaker was asked by a reporter if he would support the more than 100 members of the House who have called for Holder to resign and bring a proposed resolution of no confidence to the House floor.
“I think Chairman Issa and the members of the committee have done a very good job of investigating this abuse of government power, and I continue to support their efforts and believe that this Justice Department must be held accountable,” Boehner said.
Under Fast and Furious, the Obama administration allowed weapons to be sold to suspected Mexican drug operatives so they could be traced to the higher echelons of the cartels. But the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, which ran the operation, lost track of hundreds of weapons, and many have been linked to crimes, including the murder of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry.
On Tuesday, Issa sent a letter to Holder complaining that the Justice Department’s request of an extension for completing its document production on Fast and Furious “demonstrates a lack of good faith” and a Department of Justice “more concerned with protecting its image through spin control than actually cooperating with Congress.”
Issa explained to Holder that the committee is determined to know what happened and how the Justice Department responded when it was publicly confronted with evidence of reckless conduct after the murder of Terry.
“If the Justice Department cannot commit to providing, at a minimum, a detailed description of documents it is withholding, and the legal basis for doing so, then the committee has no other option than to move forward with the contempt process against Attorney General Holder,” Issa wrote.
Issa’s letter outlined the following unanswered questions about how the Justice Department handled Fast and Furious revelations:
- Exactly how and when did senior department officials learn the truth of what happened?
- Did department officials retaliate against whistleblowers?
- Why did department officials decide to move forward with prosecuting old cases involving highly objectionable tactics when line prosecutors had refused to do so?
- Why did senior department officials fail to see the clear connection between Fast and Furious and prior flawed operations they have admitted they knew about?
- When did the department first learn about Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer’s February 2011 suggestion of gun-walking, and why did the department wait so long before telling Congress about it?
- A year later, will the responsible senior Department officials be held accountable?