No-confidence motion against Holder to be introduced in House on Thursday

Matthew Boyle Investigative Reporter
Font Size:

Arizona Republican Rep. Paul Gosar, one of the first congressmen who demanded that Attorney General Eric Holder resign immediately, told The Daily Caller he’s introducing an official House resolution to push for a vote of no confidence in Holder as attorney general.

The House resolution is a way to formalize the growing surge in calls for Holder’s immediate resignation, and it sends a message to House leadership and to the administration that many members of Congress aren’t happy with Holder’s behavior throughout the congressional investigation into Operation Fast and Furious.

Gosar told TheDC he has two goals with this resolution. “First, the reproval by Congress of an executive official, is a significant statement,” Gosar said in an email. “Cabinet positions, including the Attorney General, are appointed with the consent of half of Congress, the Senate.”

“There is clearly a role for Congress in evaluating executive branch officials,” he continued. “When an executive branch official fails to act in the best interests of the country, acts illegally, or fails to uphold the faith and integrity the duties of the office demand, Congress is more than entitled to express its approbation, disapproval or censure. This resolution does that for the House.”

The second goal, Gosar said, is to raise “public awareness” of what happened during Fast and Furious. TheDC reported on Wednesday that at least two Democratic members of Congress — both members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus — weren’t aware of Fast and Furious until they were approached about the scandal.

“By filing this resolution, we are anticipating a debate on the House floor and a floor vote,” Gosar said. “This will bring needed inquiry, exposure and transparency to the issue itself.” (RELATED: Full coverage of Operation Fast and Furious)

The measure is largely symbolic but is nonetheless a more official move than statements from members calling for Holder’s resignation. It includes a breakdown of everything those in favor of the no confidence resolution allege Holder to have done to earn it. A floor vote isn’t likely to happen any time soon, unless House Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor, or  another member of leadership gets on board quickly.

Gosar said he hasn’t discussed the measure with leadership yet.

The resolution alleges that Holder’s actions have proven the nation’s “top law enforcement official” is not “competent, trustworthy and beyond reproach” and that he has sought to “cover up” mistakes when they are made rather than cooperating with Congress “in disclosing the events and circumstances and transparently addressing the issues.”

The measure describes how Holder “presided over a law enforcement scheme called ‘Operation Fast and Furious’ that was ill conceived at the outset and mismanaged.”

It describes Fast and Furious as an operation that “allowed thousands of weapons of various types to be illegally sold and or transferred from the United States to violent drug cartels and known criminals in Mexico and elsewhere” and that the operation “was not set up to catch criminals and no proper monitoring of the guns being sold or transferred was undertaken.”

The resolution also points out that Holder “further failed to inform or cooperate with Mexican authorities even though hundreds of weapons were being sent to Mexico” and that “Mexico is under severe stress to due drug cartel wars.”

It adds that due to Holder’s “failure to properly control, monitor, or establish Operation Fast and Furious, it is likely Mexican nationals were killed or wounded by weapons sold through this scheme” and that “the carnage resulting from Operation Fast and Furious is not limited to Mexico.”

The measure points out that  “evidence further suggests that such guns have been used in the United States, and may be involved in the death of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry.”

The resolution explains that the Obama administration and the Justice Department, “through Attorney General Holder’s office, initially provided false information to Congress,” “retaliated” against whistleblowers who provided Congress with information and “has redacted key information and has been intransigent, obstructionist, and obdurate.”

The timing of the move from Gosar is significant as Holder will be testifying before the House Judiciary Committee on Thursday, the same day Gosar’s measure will be officially filed.

There are currently 52 congressmen, two United States senators, four presidential candidates and two sitting governors demanding Holder resign immediately. Many more have expressed dissatisfaction in Holder’s leadership skills throughout the congressional investigation into Fast and Furious.

Gosar expects many if not all of those congressmen to sign onto his resolution and he told TheDC he expects more to as well, including Democrats. Currently, only Republicans have called for Holder’s resignation.

“This resolution does not, by its terms, call for the resignation or termination of Mr. Holder,” Gosar said. “It merely states that the House lacks confidence and explains why it lacks confidence. Operation Fast and Furious is not a Republican issue or a Democrat issue. This is an issue that impacts the entire country, all Americans. I have seen bipartisan concern in the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearings and in Arizona with the bipartisan group of Sherriff’s who have called for Attorney General Holder’s resignation.”

“No reasonable person would support actions from the Department of Justice like this, no matter what party with which they are affiliated,” Gosar added. “It is my hope that once more members of Congress understand the severity of the situation, the deaths on both sides of the border, and the unprecedented nature of the conceptually failed operation, we will have strong bipartisan support.”

In the 110th Congress, California Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff pushed a similar resolution for a no confidence vote against Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. Only Democrats signed onto it. No vote ever occurred, but Gonzales did ultimately resign. The Senate tried a similar resolution for a no confidence vote regarding Gonzales but it too failed to reach the floor for a vote.

Gonzales faced allegations that he fired U.S. attorneys for political reasons.

During the Clinton administration, Attorney General Janet Reno was found in contempt of Congress by the House oversight committee for failing to provide documents it requested — but the contempt of Congress measure never made it to the House floor for a full vote because Reno ended up cracking and providing documents the committee requested.

The documents Reno was refusing to provide before the House oversight committee found her in contempt were related to the impeachment of President Bill Clinton.

Follow Matthew on Twitter