The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform announced Monday that it plans to consider holding Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress.
The vote, scheduled for Wednesday of next week, comes as a result of the committee's investigation of a Justice Department operation called "Fast and Furious."
Under that operation federal agents allowed illegal guns sales to proceed in the hopes of tracking arms shipments to Mexican drug cartels. However, federal agents lost track of a large number of the weapons included in the operation and some were subsequently tied to the killing of a Border Patrol agent.
In scheduling the contempt vote, Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., the committee chairman, said that Holder and the Justice Department have failed to adequately comply with subpoenas issued during the Congressional investigation of the operation.
"Despite what the investigation has uncovered through whistleblowers and documents the Justice Department had tried to hide, the Committee's work is not yet complete," Issa said in a written statement. "Attorney General Holder has failed to meet his legal obligations pursuant to the October 12 subpoena."
He added, "Specifically, the Justice Department has refused to turn over critical documents on the grounds that they show internal Department deliberations."
Issa said that the Justice Department's refusal to turn over the documents has obstructed the committee's investigation into "reckless tactics" used in the operation.
"Congress has an obligation to investigate unanswered questions about attempts to smear whistleblowers, failures by Justice Department officials to be truthful and candid with the congressional investigation, and the reasons for the significant delay in acknowledging reckless conduct in Operation Fast and Furious," Issa said.
He added, "If the Attorney General decides to produce these subpoenaed documents, I am confident we can reach agreement on other materials and render the process of contempt unnecessary."
The contempt citation is scheduled to be debated and voted upon on June 20.
by RTT Staff Writer
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