Republican Reps. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, Kevin Brady of Texas, Tim Griffin of Arkansas and Tim Walberg of Michigan have all now signed on as co-sponsors of Arizona Republican Rep. Paul Gosar’s “no confidence” resolution.
Though it’s not directly a call for Holder to step down, the resolution alleges that the nation’s top law enforcement official’s actions have proven he is not “competent, trustworthy and beyond reproach,” and that he has sought to “cover up” mistakes rather than cooperate with Congress “in disclosing the events and circumstances and transparently addressing the issues.”
Griffin told The Daily Caller he signed on to the resolution because Holder has not actively held anyone accountable for Fast and Furious.
“Attorney General Holder’s testimony before the House Judiciary Committee earlier this month confirmed what I already believed: the Department’s Operation Fast and Furious and his mismanagement of the aftermath, including his unwillingness to hold people accountable, raise serious concerns about his ability to fulfill his duties as our nation’s top law enforcement officer,” Griffin said in an email.
A spokeswoman from Brady’s office told TheDC he is “outraged” about the ill-fated gun walking program, and with the Justice Department’s continued stonewalling of congressional investigators.
“Congressman Brady recently joined 80 of his colleagues in sponsoring a resolution expressing ‘no confidence’ in the U.S. Attorney General in the wake of the Justice Department’s disastrous and deadly ‘Fast and Furious’ program,” Brady’s spokeswoman said in an email. “Like many of his constituents and colleagues, the Congressman is outraged at the Justice Department’s handling of the program and failure to cooperate with Congressional investigators.”
Spokespersons for Blackburn and Walberg haven’t returned requests for comment.
The resolution declares that 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 due to drug cartel wars.”
It adds that because of 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 “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 declares that “through Attorney General Holder’s office” the Department of Justice “initially provided false information to Congress,” “retaliated” against whistle-blowers who provided Congress with information and “redacted key information.”
The “no confidence” resolution is a largely symbolic measure but is nonetheless a more official move than public statements from members calling for Holder’s resignation. It includes a breakdown of everything those in favor of the “no confidence” resolution allege Holder has done to earn it.
With Gosar, the lead sponsor on House Resolution 490, there are 81 members of Congress who no longer trust Holder in his office because of Fast and Furious. Additionally, 62* congressmen have demanded that Holder resign over the gun walking scandal. Between the two lists, which don’t perfectly overlap, there are 90 members of the House who don’t approve of Holder’s performance.
Those 62 congressmen join two senators, Republican Sens. James Inhofe of Oklahoma and Johnny Isakson of Georgia, every major Republican presidential candidate and two sitting governors in demanding that Holder resign.
Fast and Furious was a program of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, overseen by Holder’s DOJ. It sent thousands of weapons to Mexican drug cartels via straw purchasers — people who legally purchased guns in the United States with the known intention of illegally trafficking them somewhere else.
At least 300 people in Mexico were killed with Fast and Furious weapons, as was U.S. Border Patrol agent Brian Terry. The identities of the Mexican victims are unknown.
*Republican Rep. Bobby Schilling of Illinois joined the calls for Holder’s resignation since this story’s publication.
** Republican Rep. Tom Graves of Georgia has also called for Holder’s resignation.