Rep. Ben Quayle on Holder: ‘I call for his immediate resignation’

Matthew Boyle Investigative Reporter
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On Tuesday, Arizona Republican Rep. Ben Quayle became the 57th House member to demand Attorney General Eric Holder’s resignation over Operation Fast and Furious.

“The fact that he hasn’t fired a single person shows that Attorney General Holder is more concerned with protecting himself and his political appointees than holding individuals accountable for Fast and Furious,” Quayle said in a statement shown to The Daily Caller on Tuesday afternoon.

“I have refrained from calling for his resignation until he had a chance to testify before the Judiciary Committee. Asking for a cabinet member to resign is a serious step and one I take very seriously. After reflecting on last week’s testimony, the operation, and Mr. Holder’s handling of the fallout, I have lost all confidence in his ability to lead the Justice Department. I call for his immediate resignation.”

Fast and Furious was a Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives program overseen by the Department of Justice. It facilitated the sale of thousands of weapons to Mexican drug cartels via straw purchasers — people who legally purchase guns in the United States with the known intention of illegally trafficking them somewhere else. Those straw purchasers were known to be trafficking the weapons into Mexico, effectively arming Mexican drug cartels.

At least 300 people in Mexico were killed with Fast and Furious weapons, as was U.S. Border Patrol agent Brian Terry.

Holder admitted last week that many of the weapons that were allowed to walk have not been recovered. Quayle said that’s troubling. (RELATED: Full coverage of Eric Holder)

“These weapons continue to pose a grave threat to people living near the Southern border,” Quayle said in his statement. “These facts alone signify a lack of leadership and control within the Justice Department that warrant the removal of those people who authorized and failed to supervise this damaging operation.”

During a Dec. 8 House Judiciary Committee hearing, Quayle asked Holder if he plans to resign over Fast and Furious. Holder responded bluntly: “I have no intention of resigning.” The attorney general also confirmed that he does not plan to ask any of his staffers for their resignation over the gun-walking program.

Quayle said Holder’s continued resistance to cooperate with congressional investigators is another troubling theme throughout the Fast and Furious storyline.

“When the incredible failures of Fast and Furious came to light, Attorney General Holder and his subordinates chose the route of evasion over forthrightness,” Quayle said. “They provided documents to Congress only when compelled to produce them with subpoena. These documents revealed that on February 4, 2011, senior officials at the Department of Justice, the ATF and the Arizona U.S. Attorney’s Office responded to an inquiry by Senator Charles Grassley with a letter that contained categorically false information.”

“Ten months later, the Justice Department was forced to rescind that letter—a move the attorney general acknowledged is extremely rare,” Quayle continued. “During last week’s testimony before the House Judiciary Committee, the attorney general refused to take responsibility or hold any of his subordinates accountable for their handling of Fast and Furious. Mr. Holder himself called the operation ‘wholly unacceptable’ and ‘fundamentally flawed.’”

Quayle’s father, Dan Quayle, was Vice President of the United States under President George H.W. Bush.

Rep. Quayle joins 56 of his House colleagues, two Senators, four presidential candidates and two sitting governors in demanding Holder step down.

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