CONTEMPT: Issa Moves Against Holder on Fast and Furious
The Oversight chairman distributed a briefing and draft citation for a contempt of Congress resolution to committee members. UPDATE: Grassley tells Holder 'come clean' or force 'conflict'
May 3, 2012 - 7:59 am
Issa’s report notes the October 2010 slaying of Mario Gonzalez Rodriguez, the brother of the attorney general for the Mexican state of Chihuahua. “In a subsequent shootout with cartel members responsible for the murder, police arrested eight and recovered sixteen weapons. Two of these weapons traced back to Operation Fast and Furious. Although the Department of Justice learned that these weapons traced back to Fast and Furious almost immediately, no one informed the Mexican government.”
The memo also outlines the “most damning assessment” of intentional wrongdoing by Justice Department officials. “Kenneth Melson, the former Acting AFT Director during the pendency of Fast and Furious, told Congress that, ‘it appears thoroughly to us that the department is really trying to figure out a way to push the information away from their political appointees at the department.’ Patrick Cunningham, who had been tasked by the Justice Department with investigating ATF whistleblower allegations of gunwalking, would later invoke his Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination in refusing to answer questions about his work.”
It notes that the number of documents the Justice Department has handed over “pales in comparison” to those made available to the committee in previous investigations, including 31,000 documents pored over in the Patrick Tillman investigation and “access to highly sensitive materials despite the fact that the Justice Department was conducting a parallel criminal investigation” in the Valerie Plame probe.
As of Tuesday, the DoJ had made available more than 7,300 pages of documents. “This small number reflects the Department’s lack of cooperation since the Committee sent its first letter to the Department about Fast and Furious on March 16, 2011,” the memo states.