The PJ Tatler

'A Settlement is Still in the Best Interest': Issa and Others on Hill React to Contempt Vote

Here are some reactions on the Hill today to the contempt resolution against Attorney General Eric Holder that was passed out of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee:

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.): “While we had hoped it would not come to this, unless the Attorney General reevaluates his choice and supplies the promised documents, the House will vote to hold him in contempt next week.  If, however, Attorney General Holder produces these documents prior to the scheduled vote, we will give the Oversight Committee an opportunity to review in hopes of resolving this issue.”

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.): “At the end of the day, the Chairman and committee Republicans refused to take ‘yes’ for an answer. Instead, they are continuing to spend time on an issue – ‘gun-walking’ – that we all agree should not be used, that dates back to the Bush Administration, and that ended under the Obama Administration. It’s time for Republicans to focus on our nation’s top priorities: creating jobs, growing our economy, and strengthening our middle class.”

Oversight Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.): “After the Justice Department’s earlier false denial of reckless conduct, the Committee has a duty to pursue all options to gather and evaluate key evidence. I still believe that a settlement, rendering the process of contempt unnecessary, is in the best interest of the Justice Department, Congress, and those most directly affected by Operation Fast and Furious. I urge Attorney General Holder and President Obama to reconsider their decision to withhold documents that would allow Congress to complete its investigation.”

Homeland Security Committee Chairman Pete King (R-N.Y.): “The president’s assertion of executive privilege raises serious new questions about the role the president and the White House played in the Fast and Furious scandal. Forty years – nearly to the day – after the Watergate break in, Barack Obama has taken a page out of Richard Nixon’s playbook to assert executive privilege in an effort to stonewall Congressional investigators. I commend the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee’s action today to keep Eric Holder and President Obama accountable through the approval of a contempt resolution. However, this debate is no longer simply about Eric Holder’s contempt for Congress. Today’s assertion of executive privilege at least implies, if not confirms, that the President was at the center of Fast and Furious – or its cover up.”

Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.): “No self-respecting member of the Department of Justice would have accepted Mr. Holder’s response to the Congressional request for documents — for them to expect Congress to do so is reprehensible.  The failure to produce the documents, despite numerous opportunities, justifies no other outcome than contempt.”

Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Va.): “Regrettably, it is now clear that the politics of declaring the Attorney General in contempt of Congress is more important to the Committee’s Majority than acquiring information to which it is entitled. This presents an unfortunate and unnecessary constitutional confrontation that reflects what’s wrong with the priorities of the House of Representatives. This is nothing more than an effort to embarrass the Attorney General to score cheap political points in an election year.”