House Oversight Committee Chairman Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) on Thursday released a draft memo laying out the case for holding Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress for producing a “small fraction” of the documents they requested as part of their investigation into Operation Fast and Furious.
The Justice Department, the memo asserted, “has issued false denials, given answers intended to misdirect investigators, sought to intimidate witnesses, unlawfully withheld subpoenaed documents, and waited to be confronted with indisputable evidence before acknowledging uncomfortable facts.”
Issa said in a statement that the draft contempt report “explains the case, to both Members of the Committee and the American people, for holding Attorney General Holder in contempt of Congress” and “provides the facts, on which decisions will be made.”
A Justice Department official told TPM that DOJ continues to comply with the Oversight Committee’s requests and said the information it has not released is the type that is historically not released because it would politicized and jeopardize ongoing criminal investigations and prosecutions. That position, according to DOJ, is backed by an Office of Legal Counsel memo authored by President Ronald Reagan’s Justice Department that asserted turning over such documents would allow Congress to “exert pressure or attempt to influence the prosecution of criminal cases.”
Issa first threatened contempt proceedings over a year ago. There were mixed reports last week on whether House Speaker John Boehner had explicitly signed off on Issa’s pursuit of a contempt resolution against Holder.