Politics
Attorney General Eric Holder speaks at the Northwestern University law school, Monday, March 5, 2012 in Chicago. (AP Photo/Brian Kersey) Attorney General Eric Holder speaks at the Northwestern University law school, Monday, March 5, 2012 in Chicago. (AP Photo/Brian Kersey)  

More Democrats critical of Holder’s handling of Fast and Furious

Photo of Matthew Boyle
Matthew Boyle
Investigative Reporter

Two House Democrats have come forward demanding that Attorney General Eric Holder’s Department of Justice release findings from an internal investigation into Operation Fast and Furious before the upcoming November election.

Democratic Reps. Nick Rahall of West Virginia and Gene Green of Texas told The Washington Times’ Kerry Picket that they want the inspector general to release her report before the election to ensure that any officials from President Barack Obama’s administration who are responsible for Fast and Furious are held accountable.

Green said the DOJ’s Office of the Inspector General was taking too long to release the report. “Yeah,” he said. “They ought to deal with this problem, because there is no reason at all that that many weapons should have made it over to Mexico to be exported into Mexico without controls on it and it’s such a black eye on the [Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives] and the Department of Justice and our government that we allow that to happen.”

Rahall said the Obama administration needs to take care of the problem now. “I know there’s embarrassment at ATF and I know this program is not just under President Obama,” the Democrat said. “It was going on previous to that, but they ought to deal with it. They ought to clean it up and make sure that doesn’t happen.”

According to Picket, Rahall’s confidence in Holder’s ability to continue doing his job depends on what comes out in that inspector general’s report.

“Pending that report, I have a great deal of confidence in [Holder],” Rahall said. “Pending my reading of that report, that is.” (RELATED: Full coverage of Operation Fast and Furious)

Democratic Rep. Ron Kind of Wisconsin also expressed some concerns in an interview with Picket. “We want to see these reports,” Kind said. “These investigations proceed expeditiously, because if there are things that need to be fixed, we need to be working on that right now other than delaying it any further.”

These Democrats’ concerns come on the heels of Oklahoma Democratic Rep. Dan Boren openly refusing to defend Holder from the surge of calls for his resignation over the program. “No comment,” Boren said when The Daily Caller asked him if he still has confidence in Holder after Fast and Furious. (RELATED: ’No comment’: Democrat refuses to support Holder amid resignation calls)

There appears to be bipartisan angst for Holder building in Congress.

Boren, Kind, Rahall and Green were each one of the 31 Democratic co-signers on a June 3, 2011 letter to Obama demanding he direct Holder and the DOJ to cooperate with the ongoing congressional investigation into Fast and Furious. To date, the Obama administration has failed to cooperate with that investigation, providing only about 7,000 pages worth of more than 80,000 lawfully-subpoenaed documents. House Oversight Committee Chairman Rep. Darrell Issa has set the stage to hold Holder in contempt of Congress in the near future if he doesn’t turn over the information. Holder has provided no legal justification for his decision to withhold the documents and information he’s currently keeping from Congress.

Other Democrats — including Rep. John Dingell of Michigan — have been critical too. Just this week, Sen. Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut, an independent who caucuses with Democrats, told TheDC that he’s not entirely thrilled with Holder either and that the decision to remove Holder from office would be one that would have to come from the president. (RELATED: More senators express disappointment in Holder’s job performance)

Follow Matthew on Twitter