The case for impeaching Eric Holder

Rep. Pete Olson Contributor
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‘Another day, another Washington scandal’ seems to be the going sentiment these days. So numerous are the Administration’s scandals that much of our populace may be growing numb to them. But we cannot let outrageous behavior and disregard for the constitutional functions of our republic go unnoticed and ignored. America deserves a government that is truthful and accountable. We’ve all seen the headlines about the Fast and Furious gun-walking operation, the Administration’s refusal to defend the laws on the books, the IRS targeting of conservative groups, and the Justice Department’s selective and unwarranted surveillance of the media. One man stands at the center of these scandals — Attorney General Eric Holder.

Consider Operation Fast and Furious, the infamous gun-walking program by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) that allowed guns to flow into Mexico in an attempt to track them to cartel leaders. The program, which was approved at the highest levels of the Justice Department, put thousands of illegally-purchased weapons into the hands of the cartels. One of these guns was found at the murder scene of U.S. Border Patrol agent Brian Terry in December 2009. Congress continues to investigate the botched program, and Mr. Holder has appeared before congressional committees at least seven times. He dodged questions, made inconsistent statements, and refused to comply with Congress’ subpoena for documents related to the operation. Last July, with bipartisan support, the House voted to hold Mr. Holder in contempt of Congress. He was the first sitting cabinet member in American history to be held in contempt of Congress.

Eric Holder, as the chief law enforcement officer of the US, is obligated to uphold our nation’s laws. However, when President Obama unilaterally declared the unconstitutionality of Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), Holder agreed and refused to defend the law. Regardless of his or the president’s personal feelings towards DOMA, it was the law of the land, having been passed by Congress in 1996 and signed into law by President Bill Clinton. He blatantly ignored his constitutional duties and jeopardized the credibility of the Justice Department by refusing to defend the law before the Supreme Court.

It is fair to reason that Holder also committed perjury when he testified under oath to Congress about the Justice Department’s investigation of FOX News Chief Washington Correspondent James Rosen. In May, Attorney General Holder testified to the House Judiciary Committee that he was not involved in, and had not heard of, a potential prosecution of a journalist by the Justice Department. Three days later, the Justice Department released documents related to the Rosen investigation that named the reporter as a co-conspirator in alleged violations of the Espionage Act. Internal Justice Department regulations require the approval of the Attorney General to investigate a journalist. Mr. Holder undoubtedly knew about the ongoing investigation of Mr. Rosen because he was required to personally sign off on it. Mr. Holder refuses to say if he did, and has gagged the Justice Department from answering as well.

Holder has failed to fulfill his oath of office by refusing to investigate and prosecute anyone involved in the IRS scandal, despite evidence that officials in Washington, DC were directing the illegal practice of targeting groups based on political affiliation. This is a federal crime, yet Holder has done nothing.

Holder is also politicizing the rule of law, specifically the Voting Rights Act of 1965. This summer, the Supreme Court struck down Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act, which required special scrutiny for voting rights laws and electoral changes in specific states, including Texas. The Supreme Court, in the majority opinion, said the formula used to determine which states’ election laws required approval by the Justice Department was out of date and thus unconstitutional. Despite this ruling, Holder insists without evidence that wide-spread voting-related discrimination continues in Texas, and he announced that the Justice Department would target only Texas for special pre-clearance. Holder cannot ignore the rule of law and a Supreme Court ruling just because he and his Democrat allies want to turn Texas into a blue state.

Mr. Holder has failed to ensure that the laws are faithfully executed and has failed to fulfill his oath of office. He has grossly undermined the authority and credibility of the Justice Department to the point that it can no longer be trusted by the American people to enforce the laws of the United States and uphold the US Constitution. Attorney General Eric Holder must either resign or the House of Representatives should immediately initiate impeachment proceedings to remove him.

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Rep. Pete Olson