Cummings defends Holder’s failure to comply with Fast and Furious subpoena: ‘They’re still producing documents’

Matthew Boyle Investigative Reporter
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Attorney General Eric Holder has demonstrably failed to comply with a congressional subpoena issued for documents related to Operation Fast and Furious and, rather than question his stonewalling, the top Democrat on the House oversight committee is defending him.

Maryland Rep. Elijah Cummings believes Holder hasn’t failed to comply with the subpoena. Cummings spokeswoman Ashley Etienne told The Daily Caller on Monday that Cummings believes the Department of Justice is “still producing documents.”

Last week, House oversight committee chairman Darrell Issa, a California Republican, released a lengthy “contempt of Congress” citation draft for Holder. Republicans are planning to move forward with contempt proceedings against Holder because of his refusal to comply with subpoenas.

Issa subpoenaed 22 categories of information about the evolving firearms scandal on Oct. 12, 2011. In a briefing paper accompanying the drafted contempt citation, Issa said Holder hasn’t “completely fulfilled” any of the categories for which the Justice Department has produced documents.

According to Issa’s contempt of Congress citation draft, Holder hasn’t provided any documents reflecting 13 of those categories — including some that reference him personally. And even with the nine subpoena categories for which Holder has provided some documents, Holder is far from compliance, as TheDC documented late last week.

When TheDC asked her to specify which “documents” Cummings believes the DOJ is “still producing,” Etienne wouldn’t answer — despite the fact that Republicans have been extraordinarily specific on that front.

Etienne also wouldn’t answer when TheDC asked her if Cummings believes Holder should come into full compliance with the subpoena, or if Cummings believes it’s acceptable for any administration — Republican or Democratic, Obama or Bush — to provably defy a congressional subpoena.

A self-proclaimed “civil rights” coalition believes the contempt citation is political — but a spokesman won’t say if his organization thinks it’s acceptable for any administration, Republican or Democratic, to fail to comply with a congressional subpoena.

“While we believe that a review of the Fast and Furious program is a legitimate exercise of congressional authority, we are concerned that the tenor and approach you are taking does a disservice to Congress, the Attorney General’s office, and the public, and may also be a partisan attempt to discredit the Attorney General,” the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights wrote to Issa on Monday. “We are concerned that the contempt threat is intended to create a hostile environment aimed at pressuring the Attorney General to resign.”

Conference spokesman Scott Simpson did not answer when TheDC asked him if he thinks Holder should comply with the subpoena or if he thinks it’s acceptable for Holder or any political party’s administration to defy a subpoena.

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