Issa to Holder: Okay, sure, let’s talk
posted at 12:01 pm on June 14, 2012 by Erika Johnsen
I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t excited for the contempt proceedings scheduled to go down next week against Attorney General Eric Holder for, at the very least, utterly failing to rein in his wanton Justice Department; at the worst, actively pushing a deadly, illegal gunwalking program designed to subvert Americans’ gun rights (and to all of you “enough with the conspiracy theory!” folks out there, it’s foolish to trust that any government, anywhere is incapable of such nefarious deeds). Either way, why would innocent people withhold over 100,000 subpoenaed documents and persecute whistleblowers?
Of course, nobody wants to go ahead with a contempt vote if we don’t have to — it’d be wildly preferable it AG Holder would just pony up with the requested documents. When Holder was in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee earlier this week, he repeatedly claimed he was more than willing to cooperate with the investigation, and Deputy Attorney General James Cole has also asked for a private meeting with House Oversight Committee members. To that effect, Oversight Chairman Darrell Issa sent Holder a letter on Wednesday asking him to actually follow through on those bold-faced “let’s make a deal” proclamations and quit the dithering.
I write to respond to the Deputy Attorney General letter from Monday, and to comments you made yesterday, expressing a desire to meet. As our staffs have discussed, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and the Department of Justice are at an impasse over documents the Department has refused to produce. Let me be clear — if the Department of Justice submits a serious proposal for how it intents to alter its refusal to produce critical documents subpoenaed by the Committee, I am ready and willing to meet and discuss your proposal.
If the Department wishes to settle this dispute short of contempt, the Committee has offered it a clear path to do so without the need to disclose sensitive documents created during Operations Fast and Furious.
In making repeated accommodations, the Committee has made a good faith effort to allow the Department to meet its obligations to comply with the Committee’s subpoena. For the Department to argue otherwise without making a serious offer to alter its opposition to producing subpoenaed documents is highly disingenuous. If the Department is prepared to engage in discussions based upon a stated willingness to drop its opposition to providing material from after February 4, 2011, that may reflect internal deliberations, I may ask that you indicate such intention. If the Department has another proposal for altering its objections to providing subpoenaed material, I ask that you promptly submit that proposal for consideration as a basis for productive discussion.
Again, I appreciate your effort to resolve this dispute. I believe the interests of the Department, Congress and those directly affected by reckless conduct in Operation Fast and Furious are best served by an agreement that renders the process of contempt unnecessary.
Your move, Holder.
And hey, here’s another interesting tidbit: On Wednesday afternoon, the DOJ announced that Ronald Weich, an assistant attorney general for legislative affairs who once denied reports of ATF gunwalking, is leaving his job.
In an earlier (Feb. 4, 2011) letter to Sen. Charles Grassley, Weich denied that the ATF had ever allowed guns to be sold and taken across the border. Weich said that Grassley’s allegation — “that ATF ‘sanctioned’ or otherwise knowingly allowed the sale of assault weapons to a straw purchaser who then transported them to Mexico – is false. ATF makes every effort to interdict weapons that have been purchased illegally and prevent their transportation to Mexico.”
In an interview with CNSNews.com, Issa characterized Weich’s letter as a “lie” and said it pointed to a cover-up.
In its announcement on Wednesday, the Justice Department said Weich is leaving to become the dean of the University of Baltimore Law School.
Does anybody else get the sneaking feeling that the Justice Department really wants this to just all go away?
As a quick sidenote, for anybody just recently cottoning on to the Fast & Furious probe and finding its exact nature elusive (I didn’t quite understand it myself until I read Katie Pavlich’s book on the deadly operation and it’s shameless cover-up), here’s a video from the American Future Fund with a succinct summary of the situation. It ain’t pretty.