Congressman Tim Griffin (AR-02), a member of the House Committee on the Judiciary, issued the following statement after the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform voted to hold U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress, which followed President Obama's decision to invoke executive privilege in the face of a House subpoena for documents related to Operation Fast and Furious:
"At least one U.S. Border Patrol agent is dead because of Operation Fast and Furious, and President Obama and the Attorney General aren't being straight with the American people. President Obama's decision to invoke executive privilege in this specific instance breaks the promise he made in 2011 to "hold somebody accountable' for the gun-running debacle. The Attorney General has stonewalled this investigation long enough, and that's why I support the Committee's action and have called for the Attorney General's resignation. President Obama and Attorney General Holder are resisting legitimate and reasonable Congressional oversight, and I'll continue working with my colleagues in the House to make sure all of the facts are known."
Following the Committee's vote, Speaker of the House John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor announced that the full House will vote next week on whether to hold Attorney General Holder in contempt unless he produces the requested documents.
On May 17, Rep. Griffin wrote a letter with five other members of the House Judiciary Committee to Speaker Boehner, Leader Cantor and Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, calling for a contempt of Congress resolution against Attorney General Holder to be brought to the House Floor for a vote.
Including Rep. Griffin, at least 130 House members and four senators have called for Holder's resignation.
President Obama's previous stance on executive privilege:
On CNN in 2007, then-Senator Obama said, "I think the issue of executive power and executive privilege is one that is subject to abuse and in an Obama presidency what you will see will be a sufficient respect for law and the co-equal branches of government that I hope we don't find ourselves in a situation in which we would be having aides being subpoenaed for what I think everybody acknowledges is some troublesome information out there."
On the campaign trail in 2008, then-Senator Obama promised to "make our government open and transparent so that anyone can ensure that our business is the people's business."
In a 2009 Memorandum for the Heads of Executive Departments and Agencies, President Obama stated that "The Government should not keep information confidential merely because public officials might be embarrassed by disclosure, because errors and failures might be revealed, or because of speculative or abstract fears. Nondisclosure should never be based on an effort to protect the personal interests of Government officials at the expense of those they are supposed to serve."
On March 22, 2011, President Obama told Univision, "I did not authorize [Fast and Furious]. Eric Holder, the attorney general, did not authorize it." Obama also promised that if a "serious mistake was made...we'll find out and we'll hold somebody accountable.