Darrell Issa to Sue Eric Holder Monday
House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Darrell Issa plans to sue Attorney General Eric Holder on Monday for refusing to provide documents related to the “Fast and Furious” gun-smuggling operation.
“The committee expects to file the civil contempt suit against the attorney general Monday,” a Republican source said. The suit will be filed in the federal district court for the District of Columbia.
The action is the latest escalation in the dispute between House Republicans and the Justice Department over the documents, which relate to a botched gun-smuggling operation.
On June 28, the House voted to hold Holder in contempt of Congress and authorized the Oversight panel to bring suit to enforce its rights.
In Fast and Furious, agents for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives allowed assault guns to “walk,” which meant ending surveillance on weapons suspected to be en route to Mexican drug cartels.
The tactic, which was intended to allow agents to track criminal networks by finding the guns at crime scenes, was condemned after two guns that were part of the operation were found at Border Patrol agent Brian Terry’s murder scene.
In the most recent conflict between Congress and the president over a Congressional subpoena, Democrats’ and Republicans’ roles were reversed.
The Democratic-led House held two White House aides, Harriet Miers and Josh Bolten, in contempt of Congress for refusing to comply with subpoenas issued to the George W. Bush administration. Republicans, including Issa, defended the administration, while Democrats said it was unlawful.
After the House held Miers and Bolten in contempt, the Judiciary Committee sued the two aides in federal district court.
In August 2008, a federal judge ordered Miers to testify and Bolten to turn over documents, overruling the administration’s claim of executive privilege. That ruling was appealed.
In March 2009, a year after the suit was filed, Miers and Karl Rove, who had also become ensnared in a separate contempt proceeding, agreed to testify behind closed doors to the House Judiciary Committee. The deal broke the stalemate.