Attorney General Eric Holder is facing contempt, following a vote reached by the House Oversight Committee Wednesday (June 20). Holder is under fire over administration documents involving Operation Fast and Furious weapons scheme, and the 23-17 House vote will do little to extinguish tension between Republicans and Democrats.
Holder’s refusal to provide confidential documents involving the ill-fated anti-gun run, garnered the support of President Obama who invoked executive privilege, for the first time during his term.
As a part of their “fast and furious” plan, the government dumped guns into Mexico in an attempt to identify and keep track of drug dealers and criminals. The botched scheme resulted in the agency losing track of several guns, which ended up in the hands of cartels south of the border. The ATF shut the operation down a month later, and Holder was asked to release the documents surrounding the plan. He agreed to, so long as the discrepancy was resolved, but when that didn’t occur, the POTUS got involved.
“Our purpose has never been to hold the attorney general in contempt,” said Rep. Darrell Issa, who is also the chairman of the voting committee. “Our purpose has always been to get the information the committee needs to complete its work — that it is not only entitled to, but obligated to do.”
However, Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland disagreed with Issa, noting that the situation could have been handled without “partisan and inflammatory personal attacks.”
While this was the first time President Obama used executive privilege, his predecessors have done so on several occasions. President Bill Clinton pulled his executive privilege card 14 times during his term, nearly twice as many time as President George W. Bush who used it six times.
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