Will “Fast & Furious” Lead to Contempt Charges for Attorney General Holder?

Republican House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio is annoyed with
Attorney General Holder over the ongoing investigation in the DOJ’s
“Fast Furious Program” (which allowed U.S. guns to illegally
enter Mexico in alleged hopes of tracking down drug crooks) as per

a press release today

“The Justice Department is out of excuses. Congress has
given Attorney General Holder more than enough time to fully
cooperate with its investigation into ‘Fast and Furious,’ and to
help uncover the circumstances regarding the death of Border Agent
Brian Terry. Agent Terry’s family, the whistleblowers who brought
this issue to light, and the American people deserve answers.
Either the Justice Department turns over the information requested,
or Congress will have no choice but to move forward with holding
the Attorney General in contempt for obstructing an ongoing

Last week, Boehner vehemently denied a New York
 story that intimated he was seeking a deal with
Details from Daily Caller

The Times reported late on Tuesday that Boehner had
“opened direct negotiations with the Department of Justice aimed at
resolving a dispute over subpoenaed information related to the
botched gun-trafficking investigation dubbed Operation Fast
and Furious
.” The story ran under the headline “Boehner in
talks with Justice Dept. on gun-running inquiry.” 

Boehner spokesman Michael Steel, however, said the report is not
true. He alleged that it illustrated a Holder-friendly bias
among some establishment media outlets.

“This story shows how the mainstream media is ignoring this
scandal and covering up for the Department of Justice,” Steel wrote
in an email to TheDC.

“Staff for the speaker, other leadership offices, and Chairman
Issa have been encouraging Attorney General Holder’s staff to
comply for weeks or months to no avail, but there have certainly
been no direct talks between the speaker and attorney general, and
the department is still stonewalling.”

More details
on the latest
from the House Committee on Oversight and Reform,
containing their June 20 deadline and the core of what they want
from Holder:

On Wednesday, June 20, 2012, the House Oversight and Government
Reform Committee will convene to consider a report holding Attorney
General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress for his failure to
produce documents specified in the Committee’s October 12, 2011,
subpoena.  Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman
Darrell Issa issued the following statement on the scheduling of a
Committee vote on contempt:

“For over a year and a half, the House Oversight Committee,
with Senator Chuck Grassley, has conducted a joint investigation of
reckless conduct in Operation Fast and Furious. With the support of
House leadership, the Republican Conference, and even some
Democratic Members who have expressed concern to the White House
over the Justice Department’s failure to cooperate, this
investigation has yielded significant results. The Attorney General
has acknowledged that the operation was fundamentally flawed and he
has committed to take steps to ensure that it does not occur again.
Evidence found in applications for wiretaps shows that although
senior officials were given information about reckless tactics,
they still signed affirmations that they had reviewed the
investigation and determined that electronic surveillance of phones
was necessary.

“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.  Attorney
General Holder has failed to meet his legal obligations pursuant to
the October 12 subpoena.  House leaders reiterated this
failure in a May 18, 2012, letter. Specifically, the Justice
Department has refused to turn over critical documents on the
grounds that they show internal Department deliberations and were
created after February 4, 2011 – the date Justice issued a false
denial to Congress.  Contempt will focus on the failure to
provide these post February 4th documents.

The Committee’s dedicated web
on the Fast and Furious investigation.

This article from The Hill back in April has some

background on the congressional investigation
into “Fast and
Furious” so far:

The top two officials at the ATF stepped down from their
positions as a result, as did the U.S. Attorney for Arizona, who
provided legal advice to operational agents on the ground.

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) has requested thousands of
documents from the Justice Department about the operation and has
threatened to hold Attorney General in contempt if he does not get

This interesting post at Intermex Power points out
that the GAO was
on “Fast and Furious”-type programs, and the
inevitable problems with them, back in 2009 before “Fast and
Furious” itself was officially launched.

*The NRA back in October
explaining what upsets
the gun rights community so much about
“Fast and Furious”:

The U.S. government’s Operation Fast and Furious
was a
plot to subvert gun rights
 in America, National Rifle
Association president Wayne LaPierre charged October 14 in an
interview with Newsmax.TV.

“It’s the only thing that makes any sense,” LaPierre said of the
gunrunning “sting” operation that resulted in thousands of
U.S.-purchased firearms ending up in the hands of violent Mexican
drug traffickers. LaPierre noted that “over a period of two or
three years they were running thousands and thousands of guns to
the most evil people on earth,” while government officials were
claiming that 90 percent of the guns used by the Mexican cartels
were coming from the United States. However, said LaPierre:

“That [90 percent] was a phony figure from the very start. Even
the Wikileaks cables from our own State Department prove they are
coming from Central America; they are not coming from the U.S.
Every police officer will tell you that they’re coming from Russia,
they’re coming from China, most of them are coming from Central
America and a lot of them are coming from defections from the
Mexican Army.”

The NRA president charged that President Barack Obama, Attorney
General Eric Holder, and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton wanted
to make it appear that guns were coming from the United States, “so
they could stick more gun [control] legislation on honest American
gun owners of the United States.”

*While the gun rights community would be delighted to see Holder
held in contempt, Brian Darling at Townhall.com argues the GOP in
Congress has been
neglecting that community this year
in general:

Numerous bills to restore and preserve Second Amendment rights
to Americans have been filed, yet not one has been slated for a
vote this year. John Velleco of Gun Owners of America (GOA) tells
Townhall, “Every election year, the members of Congress come to
pro-gun voters asking to be re-elected, yet we don’t have any
pro-gun votes scheduled to come to the House and Senate floor.”

My book on the legal history leading up to where the Second
Amendment is today,
Gun Control on Trial