Expressing concerns about the Department of Justice’s independence, Republicans on the House Oversight Committee will file a civil lawsuit against U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder for refusing to release documents to Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) in his investigation of the Department’s “Fast and Furious” probe of Mexican gun-runners.
“We are filing charges against Attorney General Eric Holder tomorrow,” Issa announced on his personal Twitter account Sunday night.
Though the Department has released over 7,600 pages of documentation to Issa’s committee, he’s refused any further disclosures, warning that giving up too much could jeopardize ongoing investigations. President Barack Obama stood behind his Attorney General on that point, too: by invoking executive privilege on June 21, the additional documents were placed forever out of reach.
After he U.S. House voted on June 28 to charge Holder with criminal contempt, the Department said it would not bring criminal charges. That left Issa with just two options: either drop the investigation, or pursue a politically-charged coutroom spectacle by filing an essentially meaningless civil suit against Holder. He’s opted for the later.
Holder and fellow Democrats have criticized the investigation, calling it “politically motivated.” An investigative report published in June by Fortune reporter Katherine Eban found that weak gun laws, and not investigative misconduct, facilitated the escape of U.S. guns into Mexico.
Photo: Flickr user ryanjreilly, creative commons licensed.