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by
J. Christian Adams

Bio

April 10, 2014 - 2:34 pm

At last, one House Republican is ready to use the Constitutional power of the purse to reign in Attorney General Eric Holder’s lawlessness.

Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Virginia), chairman of the Appropriations subcommittee that oversees Eric Holder’s Justice Department will utilize the power of the purse to withhold funds from the Justice Department.

Eric Holder has been lobbying the Republican controlled House for a larger budget.  Wolf says he will withhold $1,000,000 for every instance of failure for Eric Holder to respond to Wolf’s demands for information.

The Constitution vests the House of Representatives with the power of the purse, an enormously effective tool for reigning in abuses by the executive branch.  If the House does not allocate money to Obama’s Justice Department, then Holder cannot function.

Wolf has sought dozens of reports required from the DOJ under the FY 2013 Omnibus Act.  The reporting requirement was an effort to shine a light on the behavior of the Justice Department.  It was an exercise of Congressional oversight. The law required Holder to provide Congress and Wolf’s committee 66 separate reports about DOJ activity.
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Not surprisingly, Holder has ignored the law and is in default of the reporting requirement.  Wolf vows to withhold $1,000,000 to the DOJ budget for each overdue report.  From Wolf’s opening statement to an Appropriations hearing last week:

“There are still 25 outstanding reports and briefings from the FY 2013 bill, and that doesn’t include any of the additional reports directed in the FY 2014 bill, which was subsequently signed into law earlier this year. There are already 18 reports in the FY 2014 bill that are overdue to the committee.

“With a workforce of more than 100,000 employees, I know that the department certainly has the capacity to provide the directed reports. What is lacking is the will to be responsive to the Congress on the part of the department’s leadership. That is what I find particularly disappointing.

“Today, I am announcing a new policy that these overdue reports will no longer be tolerated by the committee. When our FY 2015 bill is marked up this spring, I intend to withhold $1 million for every overdue report from the FY 2013 and FY 2014 bills. The funds will be provided instead to agencies in this bill that comply with reporting requirements. With the current backlog of 43 reports, this could be a significant reduction in funds for the department. But you have now been given fair warning that these overdue reports will now be taken into account when the subcommittee determines your budget.

“For the record, I find it extremely unfortunate that I have to take this action, but I know no other way to encourage the department to follow through on its required obligations to this Committee.”

Wolf might start with the particularly out-of-control Civil Rights Division.

 

J. Christian Adams is an election lawyer who served in the Voting Rights Section at the U.S. Department of Justice. His New York Times bestselling book is Injustice: Exposing the Racial Agenda of the Obama Justice Department (Regnery).  His website is www.electionlawcenter.com. Follow him on Twitter @electionlawctr.

Comments are closed.

Top Rated Comments   
Wolf had best get his personal records for the past seven years in order. I smell a severe audit coming.
16 weeks ago
16 weeks ago Link To Comment
Perfect opposes good. Hey jlw, when nobody had been using the Power of the Purse, how about some thanks when someone finally does. You can be sure this is not happy news in Holder-land.
16 weeks ago
16 weeks ago Link To Comment
Thank you Rep. Wolf for at least trying to hold an appointed official accountable.
16 weeks ago
16 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (14)
All Comments   (14)
Sort: Newest Oldest Top Rated
Holder IS beholden to the Congress when he utterly fails to uphold HIS duty. And the Congress can, and should reel him in. HE is not doing his job. The Senate approved his nomination, and what an entity can establish it can un-establish. He CAN be removed from office. If he shoulld "happen" to be charged with any felony crimes (oh such as causing three thousand weapons to be illegally exported to Mexico without any of the required under law paperwork, perhaps..... or maybe his punitive prosecution of George Zimmerman, or... well, you get the idea.
15 weeks ago
15 weeks ago Link To Comment
I already see an out for douchebag holder. All he has to do is submit some half-baked paperwork to qualify as a submision then he can tie the committee up in endless back and forth "clarifications". So much for transparency. But then, 0butthead never did quite define to what level of "transparency" he would ascribe to. Many shades from black hole-like opaque to crystal clear.
15 weeks ago
15 weeks ago Link To Comment
Bravo to Rep. Frank Wolf.....at long last using the power of the purse
to possibly bring the Dept. of 'Justice' in line with the law.
Maybe, just maybe, Eric "You don't want to go there, buddy" Holder
will turn over mutiple requested documents.
Good luck, Rep. Wolf.
15 weeks ago
15 weeks ago Link To Comment
Punitive budgetary measures seem to be the only rational response to a rogue AG (operating within a rogue administration). Any criminal probes against Holder will be neutralized via pardon from Fearless Leader.
15 weeks ago
15 weeks ago Link To Comment
Wolf had best get his personal records for the past seven years in order. I smell a severe audit coming.
16 weeks ago
16 weeks ago Link To Comment
I like the sentiment of Wolf, however, isn't it likely that the budget cuts will be targeted by DOJ to "maximize the pain" by stopping programs with high PR value? Republicans will be demonized a la Sequester.

Hopefully Wolf's strategy includes is a way to control for this risk.
16 weeks ago
16 weeks ago Link To Comment
$43,000,000, maximum, from 2015? i guess you need to start somewhere, but i doubt this will cause any great fear on the part of Holder and the DoJ.
16 weeks ago
16 weeks ago Link To Comment
addendum: the budget for the DoJ is on the order of $27 billion/yr. 2013 was higher than 2014. neither year would be severely impacted by losing $43 million.
16 weeks ago
16 weeks ago Link To Comment
addendum#2: the most recent number of employees in the DoJ that i could find is 114,486. if the 43 million withheld was balanced completely by reducing salaries, they would each lose $375.59/yr. or $1.03/day.

16 weeks ago
16 weeks ago Link To Comment
Perfect opposes good. Hey jlw, when nobody had been using the Power of the Purse, how about some thanks when someone finally does. You can be sure this is not happy news in Holder-land.
16 weeks ago
16 weeks ago Link To Comment
Thank you Rep. Wolf for at least trying to hold an appointed official accountable.
16 weeks ago
16 weeks ago Link To Comment
Defunding the DOJ does not sound like a great solution to the problem of a rogue Attorney General. Holder should be impeached, removed from office, tried for numerous crimes, and sent to prison.

Impeachment may not be practical until after November, but at least the groundwork can be laid now
16 weeks ago
16 weeks ago Link To Comment
He will be long gone if both houses are R in Nov.
16 weeks ago
16 weeks ago Link To Comment
That would be very nice, but Holder isn't beholden to Congress.

The only concern he would have would be the increased probability of being convicted after impeachment by the House. That possibility, however, might cause his resignation. We can always hope. Maybe the same considerations would occur to Obama, that would also be very sweet.
16 weeks ago
16 weeks ago Link To Comment
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