Speaker John Boehner expressed support for the efforts of House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Darrell Issa, who is drafting a contempt of Congress resolution against Attorney General Eric Holder.
The California Republican is pushing the resolution for what he says is a refusal to produce documents about the “Fast and Furious” gun-smuggling investigation.
“Chairman Issa and members of his committee are doing a good job,” Boehner said. “I’m supporting their efforts to hold those people in the Justice Department accountable.”
Although he would not explicitly endorse the resolution, Boehner did say that “all options are on the table.”
Issa released a staff memo last week outlining the case for holding Holder in contempt that included a draft contempt resolution.
“Congress now faces a moment of decision between exerting its full authority to compel an agency refusing to cooperate with congressional oversight or accepting a dangerous expansion of Executive Branch authority and unilateral action allowing agencies to set their own terms for cooperating with congressional oversight,” the memo said.
At issue is Issa’s investigation into Fast and Furious, in which agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are accused of allowing assault rifles and other high-powered weapons to “walk,” which meant ending surveillance on weapons suspected to be en route to Mexican drug cartels.
The operation involved undercover sales of weapons as a way to track illegal gun running, but the ATF has been roundly criticized for having inadequate protocols for tracking the guns after they were sold.
Deputy Attorney General James Cole said in a May 3 letter: “The Department strongly disputes the contention that we have failed to cooperate.”
Cole suggested the two parties negotiate a solution.