Panel prepares to hold Holder in contempt

June 11, 2012 at 11:00 AM
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WASHINGTON, June 11 (UPI) -- A House committee is expected to vote next week on holding U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress over a failed gun-tracking operation.

Republican aides said the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, led by Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., is seeking a mound of documents detailing Operation Fast and Furious, Politico reported Monday.

"The Obama Administration has not asserted executive privilege or any other valid privilege over these materials and it is unacceptable that the Department of Justice refuses to produce them," Issa said in a statement. "These documents pertain to Operation Fast and Furious, the claims of whistle-blowers, and why it took the department nearly a year to retract false denials of reckless tactics."

The committee vote is scheduled for June 20.

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.

In Fast and Furious, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms tried to track guns illegally sold in the southwestern United States from 2006 to 2011 to their ultimate purchasers. But the "gun-walking" strategy led to hundreds of weapons ending up in Mexico, including two found at the scene after Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was shot to death in 2011.

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