Washington, DC – Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, a Senior Member of the House Judiciary Committee, has just hand delivered a letter signed by 65 of her Democratic colleagues asking Speaker Boehner to reconsider his decision to bring to the Floor the Contempt Citation against Attorney General Eric Holder. The Congresswoman released the following statement:
“I have been a Member of the House Judiciary Committee for quite some time now and never in my years of service have I seen an action as short sighted and partisan as this when it comes to the Attorney General of the United States or any other Cabinet Member of the President of the United States. I have witness hearings on Impeachment of a President, Waco and other procedures but this possible contempt vote is nothing but a partisan political investigation.
“I along with 65 of my colleagues have asked Speaker Boehner to halt this contempt vote. Instead, the House of Representatives should be working to create jobs and strengthen our middle class. Congress must have the ability to conduct meaningful, responsible oversight – but tomorrows expected contempt vote fails to meet the standard of what is meaningful or responsible.
“Here are some of the facts: The Department of Justice has produced nearly 8,000 pages of documents and provided 22 DOJ officials to testify and do interviews. The Attorney General has testified 9 times and continues to offer to provide information – even information beyond the scope of the subpoena – to House Republicans to resolve the issue.
“This sixteen-month investigation found no evidence whatsoever that the Attorney General knew about ‘gun-walking.’ Fast and Furious was a bottom-up strategy. There is no evidence of White House involvement in ‘gun-walking’ – as Chairman Issa admitted on national TV last weekend. ‘Gun-walking’ started in 2006 under the Bush Administration.
There is evidence that former Bush Attorney General Mukasey — not Attorney General Holder — was briefed on botched operations. When Attorney General Holder learned about Fast and Furious he immediately called for an inspector general investigation and issued a directive that ‘gun-walking’ was an unacceptable tactic.
“The House Leadership’s actions are destructive election-year politics pure and simple. It is Republicans following through on their threats to use their authority to try to damage this Administration, politically, and this Attorney General, specifically, who has placed an emphasis on enforcing civil rights, voting rights and defending our justice system and the rule of law.
“This kind of divisive politics hurts Americans who want their leaders focused on fixing real problems they face every day and hurts law enforcement agents who are putting their lives at risk in ongoing investigations that could be compromised by the Committee’s political fishing expedition.
“Last week, the Oversight Committee voted along strictly partisan lines to adopt the Republican contempt citation, and every amendment passed or failed on party-line votes. It’s time for Republicans to focus on our nation’s top priorities: creating jobs, growing our economy, and strengthening our middle class.”
Michael J. McQuerry
Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-18)
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