• Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Subscribe
  • RSS

House Oversight Committee May Delay Contempt Finding Against Holder

It would appear that the House Oversight Committee and Attorney General Eric Holder are in the process of resolving at least part of the dispute between them regarding document producing in the Fast & Furious investigation:

Rep. Darrell Issa offered Friday to postpone a contempt vote against Attorney General Eric Holder in exchange for specific documents about the Fast and Furious gun-walking operation.

In a two-page letter to Holder, the Oversight Committee chairman wrote that his staff met with the Justice Department on Thursday to figure out which documents would be released.

“While I do have substantial concerns that these documents may not be sufficient to allow the Committee to complete its investigation, delivery of these documents to the Committee before the scheduled consideration of contempt [on Wednesday] would be sufficient to justify the postponement of the proceeding,” wrote Issa.

“I am prepared to announce this delay once the Department produces these documents,” he added.

Issa also said that he and Sen. Chuck Grassley, chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, would be willing to meet with Holder as soon as Tuesday to discuss the Fast and Furious investigation.

The Justice Department did not immediately agree to Issa’s terms, but a spokesperson said that the DOJ “look[s] forward to a productive session” next week.

“We are pleased that Chairman Issa has agreed to our request to meet next week and we look forward to a productive session. It is in the best interest of all parties to bring this matter to a final resolution by avoiding a confrontation that involves contempt and we believe that the provision of documents must be part of an agreement that brings this matter to a close. We trust that Chairman Issa shares our interest in doing so and will work with us in a productive and good faith manner to achieve that end,” Justice Department spokesperson Tracy Schmaler told POLITICO.

There remains much to be worked out, of course, but this would seem to indicate that the parties are at least talking and on the road to a resolution. As I noted before, this is usually the manner in which these kinds of disputes between Congress and the Executive Branch are resolved, it’s just interesting to see that the old ways still  seem to work in a Washington that has become increasingly hyperpartisan.

Related Posts:

About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Chad S says:

    I guess they didn’t like the looks of the polling on the subject.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  2. Moosebreath says:

    Or perhaps it was not as clear as Doug and Jenos made it out that all 140,000 documents should have been immediately turned over.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  3. Go back and read my posts, Moosebreath. As I’ve said before, this was all about getting documents and until now the DOJ was unwilling to even talk about handing over more than the paucity of documents that they did. If they’ve actually changed their mind on that, then this dispute can be resolved.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  4. Moosebreath says:

    Doug,

    I see. I guess some other Doug Mataconis with posting privileges here wrote as a tag line, “If the Department of Justice does not fully comply with Congressional subpoenas, then there seems to be no alternative other than holding the Attorney General in contempt.” (emphasis added). You should alert the webmaster.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  5. mantis says:

    until now the DOJ was unwilling to even talk about handing over more than the paucity of documents that they did

    You lie!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  6. Yes Moosebreath, I wrote that and I stand by it. It appears though that Holder is coming to his senses

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  7. @Moosebreath:

    Full compliance doesn’t mean turning over every document, it means turning over those documents that the committee believes satisfy its subpoena request AND providing a list of the documents being withheld and the reason that are being withheld. That’s how document production works, my friend.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  8. Moosebreath says:

    Or alternatively, Issa is coming to his, and realizing that all 140,000 documents were not properly subject to subpoena. I’d be surprised if more than another few hundred additional documents were turned over as the result of any settlement.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  9. If you’ve been paying attention to this at all, and I realize that funneling guns to Mexican drug lords and two dead federal agents is no big deal to Obama’s fans, then you’ll know that isn’t true.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 6

  10. Moosebreath says:

    “Full compliance doesn’t mean turning over every document, it means turning over those documents that the committee believes satisfy its subpoena request AND providing a list of the documents being withheld and the reason that are being withheld.” (emphasis added)

    So the party requesting the documents is the judge of what constitutes full compliance by the other party. Fascinating. That’s never been how document production worked in any case I was in.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  11. Moosebreath says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    You got me. Just as removing US Attorneys solely becuase they did not prosecute enough Democrats was no big deal to Bush fans, and even to people who laughingly claim to be non-partisans like you.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  12. No, if there’s a real dispute about documents being withheld, then the matter will have to be resolved by a Judge.

    Again, that’s how these things work

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  13. Seriously, Moosebreath.

    Explain to me why you don’t consider this to be something worth investigating? Or are you okay with the fact that an ATF “sting” operation resulted in thousands of high-powered weapons in the hands of Mexican drug gangs?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  14. James in LA says:

    Doug even if those ” thousands of high-powered weapons” never made it to Mexico it would not have made one bit of difference in the outcomes we have today. El Chapo would still be a billionaire and the failed war on drugs marches on. The program was also started by a Republican President. There’s no there, There, Doug, sorry. You are free to be outraged by all the law breaking you cannot (selectively) stand to see. And it makes zero difference. “Being OK with it’ is not even remotely relevant at this point. It is just one of your many straw-men, your Great Tell that you have lost another argument. “Both sides do it” is another.

    Issa has no case.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  15. James,

    I’ll honestly say I’m astounded that you don’t care, though I suspect things would be different if the President belonged to a different party

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  16. Tsar Nicholas says:

    I find myself actually longing for the days of Janet Reno. Sigh.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  17. Dazedandconfused says:

    It’s not that it isn’t worth investigating, Doug, it’s that it has the character of a political witch hunt.

    Melson, Burke, Voth…the guys who clearly had full knowledge and signed off on it…have all been missing or had bit-parts in the hearings. This is consistent with Cummings statements that Issa knows Holder can not release everything, or even talk about on-going possible prosecutions, but is hammering him anyway and labeling it “obstructionism”.

    Nepolitano may be the guy who sees it all and his calling for a special prosecutor is what Issa really needs. The way it has been described to me is that a special prosecutor can go as deep as he likes on fishing expeditions (e.g. -looking at a failed real estate deal, but eventually landing a girl who doesn’t do laundry very often) easily. Congressional Committees are somewhat more limited.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  18. anjin-san says:

    It’s not that it isn’t worth investigating, Doug, it’s that it has the character of a political witch hunt.

    Here is the core problem. Can anyone show where Issa gave a rat’s ass about corruption/incompetence/abuse of power when Bush was President?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  19. Issa wasn’t in committee leadership when Bush was President, and after 2007 he was part of the House minority. Not an unfair point.

    And even if there’s a political element to the investigation, so what? This is a matter that deserves to be investigated.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  20. Dazedandconfused says:

    Investigation is fine, but character assassination of Holder in a cynical and unethical manner isn’t investigation.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  21. Moosebreath says:

    Doug,

    “No, if there’s a real dispute about documents being withheld, then the matter will have to be resolved by a Judge.”

    Exactly. And yet you seem convinced Holder is in the wrong for refusing to turn over every document requested by Issa. You seem convinced there is no real dispute. Just like the partisan you are.

    “Explain to me why you don’t consider this to be something worth investigating?”

    There’s a major difference between saying something deserves to be investigated and saying that it is the end of the Republic if every document demanded by the Committee is not turned over without litigating whether they are properly requested. And as noted, the Democrats’ response to this has been exactly like the Republican response to the US Attorneys scandal, down to the party-line votes against the subpoenas. For someone who never fails to suggest both sides do it when Republicans are caught in improper acts, you seem unwilling to do so when Democrats are. Just like the partisan you are.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  22. Moosebreath,

    He has refused to turn over the vast majority of documents and failed to provide a privilege log detailing the justification for not turning over the documents he’s holding back. Therefore, he’s not in compliance with the subpoena.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  23. Moosebreath says:

    Doug,

    And that differentiates this from the US attorney scandal because Holder did far more than Gonzalez and Miers did. They asserted privilege without even showing up at Congressional hearings to do so (as opposed to Holder, who has testified and asserted the privilege). They refused to turn over any documents at all (as opposed to Holder, who has turned over many). Neither turned over a privilege log. And yet every Republican on the Committee voted against citing for contempt and every Republican in Congress but 3 either voted against the contempt resolution or abstained.

    So this would be an excellent example of “both sides do it”. And yet you are not willing to treat it that way, unlike how you excuse Republicans every day of the week. And it’s only due to the party claiming the privilege.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  24. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @Moosebreath: So, Moose, you’re basically saying that you can’t offer a single rational, principled defense for Holder’s refusal to fully comply, and can only offer a partisan, juvenile “they did it first!” argument?

    I can offer one for why it’s proper for Congress to have issued the subpoena. Hell, others have, and thoroughly shredded the lame excuses offered so far. But in defense of Holder? None offered.

    Because there is no principled defense for Holder’s conduct.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1