On June 20, the House Oversight Committee will meet to decide whether to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress. All of this stems from Operation Fast and Furious, a government-run gun-running program that had no clear goals, no real oversight and, by many accounts, was intended to cause violence that could be used as a pretext to chip away at Americans’ Second Amendment rights. I predict that the House Oversight Committee, of which I am a member, will find him in contempt. That would be the right outcome. Here are the top three reasons why:
1) Holder won’t comply with our subpoena. Congress has been requesting Department of Justice records about Fast and Furious since March 2011. Getting no real voluntary cooperation (and getting a lot of double talk and delay), we issued a subpoena in October 2011. It is Holder’s refusal to comply with that subpoena in good faith that is bringing this vote to the committee. We are due over 10,000 documents.
2) Holder has been less than forthcoming. The attorney general has not been candid with the committee. Some say Holder has perjured himself on what he knew about Fast and Furious and when he knew it. He has had to issue one too many “corrections” to his testimony after the fact. Most famously, Holder’s department first told us that no gun-running had occurred, then once the truth was discovered, the DOJ “retracted” that testimony — after a year of misleading the people.
3) Holder hasn’t held anyone accountable. Guns distributed through this DOJ program have been used to kill Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry as well as hundreds of Mexicans. Holder has refused to accept responsibility for the deaths on both sides of the border and has refused to hold anyone under his authority, particularly political appointees, accountable.
Holder’s efforts to delay this investigation and mislead the House Oversight Committee are unprecedented. This is only the fourth time in the past 30 years that Congress has sought to hold an executive branch member in contempt, but, as I’ve noted, the contempt proceedings are warranted by the facts and, quite frankly, overdue.
Finally, I am the sponsor of H. Res. 490, which is seeking a vote of no confidence in Holder. Regardless of whether Holder is held in contempt, we should vote on my resolution of no confidence. So far, 114 members of Congress are supporting it. I have lost confidence in Holder and so have the American people.
Rep. Paul Gosar, a Republican, represents Arizona’s First Congressional District. He is a member of the United States House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.