House Oversight Committee Chairman Rep. Darrell Issa has drafted a 48-page contempt of Congress citation for Attorney General Eric Holder over Operation Fast and Furious. It now appears Issa is currently moving forward without the support of House Speaker John Boehner.
Holder’s Department of Justice has provided only about 7,000 pages worth of the more than 70,000 pages of documents Issa has subpoenaed related to Operation Fast and Furious.
Issa and many others on Capitol Hill have threatened for months that they’ll hold Holder in contempt without actually doing it. This 48-page contempt citation is the first official step in moving forward with contempt proceedings.
To actually effectively hold Holder in contempt, Issa would need House GOP leadership to play ball. At this point, it appears as though House Speaker John Boehner is only partially in his court.
A House Republican leadership aide told The Daily Caller on Friday that “while there are very legitimate arguments to be made in favor of such an action [holding Holder in contempt], no decision has been made to move forward with one by the Speaker or by House Republican leaders.”
Even so, the Los Angeles Times reported Friday morning that top committee officials from Issa’s House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform “recently met for most of a day in the House speaker’s office and were given the green light to proceed toward a contempt citation.” The Times cited anonymous sources.
That GOP leadership aide also told TheDC that the LA Times report is inaccurate.
A spokesman for Issa refused to comment when The Daily Caller presented him with GOP leadership’s open opposition to the notion it approved contempt proceedings.
If Issa does get the green light, it appears as though he’s going to make his moves around Memorial Day or shortly thereafter. During an appearance on Fox News Thursday night, South Carolina Republican Rep. Trey Gowdy — a member of the House oversight committee who’s been close to this investigation — said Memorial Day is Holder’s deadline.
“Before Memorial Day, Eric Holder will either comply or he will suffer consequences,” Gowdy said. “When I say consequences, I mean contempt of Congress.”
Not one government official has been held accountable for Operation Fast and Furious. Scores of lawmakers — 125 House members, three U.S. senators, two governors — and many major political figures, including presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, have demanded Holder’s resignation or firing over Fast and Furious.
Boehner has not called for Holder’s resignation, nor has he been vocal about Fast and Furious save for a few times saying he backed Issa’s push for accountability. Some have speculated that Boehner put the brakes on Fast and Furious accountability momentum building late last year into early this year but Boehner’s staff vehemently denies those accusations.
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