House Republicans: Under Holder, ‘Justice Department has become more partisan than ever’
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith, a Texas Republican, released a new report on Monday outlining why he believes the Obama administration’s Department of Justice “has become more partisan than ever.”
The report details how President Barack Obama’s DOJ — led by Attorney General Eric Holder — has been “stalling” the congressional investigation into Operation Fast and Furious, has been “failing to enforce immigration laws” and has been “challenging voter ID laws.”
Smith’s report says Holder gave “inaccurate and incomplete testimony” about Fast and Furious during his May 3, 2011, appearance before the House Judiciary Committee.
“In his May testimony before the House Judiciary Committee, the Attorney General stated that he had first learned about the program only a few weeks earlier,” the committee wrote in the report summary. “But documents released by the Justice Department revealed that information regarding the program was provided in memos to the Attorney General’s office as early as July 2010. On November 8, 2011, Attorney General Holder conceded that his May 3rd testimony was inaccurate.”
With regard to immigration law enforcement, Smith’s report rips the DOJ for attacking Arizona’s SB 1070 — a law “that empowers Arizona law enforcement officers to enforce federal immigration law by inquiring into the immigration status of people who they have lawfully stopped, detained, or arrested” — and for refusing to pursue legal action “against states like New York, Massachusetts, and Illinois that openly violate federal immigration enforcement laws.”
“These states have refused to participate in Secure Communities, a federal program that ensures that illegal and criminal immigrants are identified,” Smith’s report summary reads.
“Additionally, the Obama administration fails to pursue cities and counties that have sanctuary policies in violation of federal immigration laws. This shows that the Justice Department is making decisions based on a partisan agenda rather than the law of the land.”
On voter ID, Smith’s report criticizes Holder’s DOJ for going after new voter ID laws in Texas and South Carolina.
The report also describes how Holder’s DOJ has been “blocking congressional inquiries” into matters like Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan’s role in developing the Obama administration’s legal defense for Obama’s health care reform law, and how Holder has refused to defend parts of the Defense of Marriage Act. It also accuses Holder of “ignoring the Constitution’s limited recess appointment power.”
“The Obama administration has ignored the constitutional balance of power between co-equal branches of government and blocked investigations of its actions,” Smith said in a statement accompanying the report’s release. “When the Administration doesn’t like a law, they refuse to enforce it. And if the Senate’s constitutional authority to approve political appointees gets in their way, the Administration ignores the Constitution.”
Smith also said that given the DOJ’s “responsibility to enforce the laws of the land and protect the Constitution,” its politicization is more troubling than within other federal agencies.
“All government officials are bound by the limits of the Constitution and the rule of law, including the President and the Attorney General,” Smith said. “Unfortunately, this Administration continues to put a partisan agenda ahead of the Constitution and the rule of law.”
DOJ spokeswoman Tracy Schmaler did not respond to The Daily Caller’s request for comment about the report.