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Issa reveals contempt draft for Holder

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder could face contempt charges. UPI/Kevin Dietsch
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder could face contempt charges. UPI/Kevin Dietsch | License Photo

WASHINGTON, May 3 (UPI) -- Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., Thursday circulated a draft copy of a resolution that would hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress.

Issa distributed the 44-page document to members of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, which he heads, to try to build support for his contempt citation for allegedly hindering the panel's probe of a failed gun-tracking operation, The Hill reported

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Issa has been investigating the botched Operation Fast and Furious for more than a year, repeatedly expressing frustration for what he said was the Justice Department's lack of cooperation.

The draft, obtained by CBS News before its distribution to Republican and Democratic committee members, alleges the Justice Department 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."

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A memo attached to the document said the Justice Department's "failure to respond appropriately to the allegations of whistle-blowers and to cooperate with congressional oversight has crossed the line of appropriate conduct for a government agency.

The Justice Department said it has complied with the congressional investigations led by Issa and Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa.

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"We've done twice-a-month [document] productions since last year, and the attorney general has testified about this matter no less than seven times," a Justice Department official told CBS News.

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In Operation Fast and Furious, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agents allowed weapons to be illegally bought and circulated on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border. Two weapons turned up after a U.S. Border Patrol agent was killed in southern Arizona a year ago, and many others reportedly were used in crimes in Mexico.

Fast and Furious succeeded a similar operation, Wide Receiver, begun in 2006 under the Bush administration.

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