Tri-Caucus Chairs Condemn Chairman Darrell Issa’s Partisan Attempt to HoldAttorney General Holder in Contempt of Congress
Chairman Emanuel Cleaver, II
“This is a sad day in the history of the United States Congress. Today, we see the great lengths to which some of my colleagues will go in an attempt to discredit the Attorney General–a member of President Obama’s Administration–as we near the 2012 election. For over 15 months, Attorney General Eric Holder and the Department of Justice has cooperated with the Committee’s inquiry. The Obama Administration is now rightfully asserting executive privilege over the narrow subset of documents that remain at issue–the same process President Bush used six times during his presidency.
“Just yesterday, the Attorney General participated in a bicameral meeting with Chairman Issa, Chairman Leahy, Ranking Member Grassley, and Ranking Member Cummings in a good faith effort to fully satisfy the Committee’s information requests, which Department officials have been working for months to fulfill, but somehow their work is not enough. The United States House of Representatives has never in its history held an Attorney General in contempt.
“During this critical moment in our nation’s history, the attention of our country’s chief law enforcement officer should be focused on addressing ongoing law enforcement challenges and championing real issues, instead of being distracted by manufactured, partisan political ones. This is an extremely low moment in our body politic. The cause for civility has been met by an unnecessary and unfortunate partisanship.”
Chairman Charles A. Gonzalez
“Congress must exercise its authority responsibly and in the interest of the American people, not to score partisan political points. The Justice Department and Attorney General Holder have provided the Committee leadership with unprecedented access to the documents it requested; yet Rep. Issa refuses to be reasonable. When partisan advantage is the primary motivation, it’s really the American people who suffer.
“Attorney General Holder continues to act in good faith, but the Republican chairman of the committee has made a decision to pursue the extreme measure of initiating contempt proceedings. This is a waste of time for the Committee, the DOJ and the American people.”
Chairwoman Judy Chu
“What the American people are witnessing today is politics at its worst. As we inch closer and closer to the 2012 election, Congressional Republicans are trying to blemish the career of a respected public servant in an attempt to discredit the Administration.
“Attorney General Holder and the Department of Justice have already provided thousands of pages of pertinent documents and testimonies from numerous top officials. Just yesterday, the Attorney General met with Committee Members in an effort to meet their requests. He is, and has been, cooperating in good faith, despite the egregious charges being leveled against him.
“Congress has never before held an Attorney General in contempt, and this situation clearly does not meet the threshold for setting such a bold new precedent. The Attorney General and the U.S. Congress have more important issues to address, and these political distractions only leave the American people less safe.”