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House Oversight Cmte. Votes to Hold Atty. Gen. in Contempt of Congress

Washington, DC
Wednesday, June 20, 2012

In a party-line vote, the House Oversight & Government Reform Committee agreed to hold Attorney General Holder in contempt of Congress on Wednesday, June 20. From this committee, the vote moved to the full house, for a vote passed Thursday.

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) threatened the Attorney General with contempt of Congress because he believes the Justice Department has moved slowly in response to the committee's subpoenas. The Justice Department has said they can not disclose the thousands of supporting documents the committee has requested because it would interfere with the Agency's ongoing investigations.

Rep. Issa met with Attorney General Holder earlier in the week in hopes of negotiating a compromise. After the meeting, he released the following statement:

"I had hoped that after this evening’s meeting I would be able to tell you that the Department had delivered documents that would justify the postponement of tomorrow’s vote on contempt.  The Department told the Committee on Thursday that it had documents it could produce that would answer our questions. Today, the Attorney General informed us that the Department would not be producing those documents. The only offer they made involved us ending our investigation.

“While I still hope the Department will reconsider its decision so tomorrow’s vote can be postponed, after this meeting I cannot say that I am optimistic.  At this point, we simply do not have the documents we have repeatedly said we need to justify the postponement of a contempt vote in committee.”

Earlier this month, the Attorney General said the documents contain no reference to "gun walking." His testimony came before the annual Justice Department Oversight hearing at the House Judiciary Committee.

The operation allowed illegal gun purchases along the Southwest border in Arizona, intending to track the weapons to cartel leaders.  Instead, around 1,700 guns were misplaced. Eventually, some of the weapons appeared at crime scenes in Mexico, and two were recovered after a U.S. Border Patrol agent was killed in Tucson.

Updated: Friday, June 29, 2012 at 1:18pm (ET)

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