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Public Statements

Recommending that Attorney General Eric Holder Be Found in Contempt of Congress

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Ms. MCCOLLUM. Mr. Speaker, today the House is voting on a Republican-Tea Party witch hunt intended to destroy an honorable man's character. This resolution of contempt targeting Attorney General Eric Holder is a shameful and shameless abuse of power by the majority party. The only reason this unprecedented attack is taking place on the House floor today, against our country's first African American Attorney General, is because the Tea Party Republican majority is pandering to birthers, NRA members and other extremist obsessed with defeating President Obama.

Attorney General Eric Holder has my full support and I reject this transparent political abuse of power.

I am strongly opposed to the House Republican resolution to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress for failing to turn over documents pertaining to sensitive and on-going law enforcement activities to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

The committee request is for documents related to Operation Fast and Furious, conducted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), which allowed the straw purchase of firearms in pursuit of prosecutions of gun smugglers. Two of the illegally purchased AK-47 assault weapons were found at the scene of a gun battle that resulted in the killing of U.S. Border Patrol agent Brian Terry on December 15, 2010. In his effort to cooperate with Chairman DARRELL ISSA, Attorney General Holder has provided the Oversight Committee with more than 7,600 pages of documents and participated in nine congressional hearings.

In 2006, under the Bush Administration, the ATF's Arizona office used the tactic of ``gun walking'' to allow guns to remain on the street after a potentially illegal sale to build a bigger case rather than interdicting them immediately. President Bush's attorney general, Michael Mukasey, received a briefing paper on November 16, 2007 on ATF cooperation with Mexico on ``controlled deliveries'' of weapons smuggling. The House Oversight Committee has failed to call any Bush Administration officials to testify on this matter.

This week, in Politico, a senior Republican House aide is quoted as saying, ``The contempt of Holder is a dog whistle to the right-wing tea party community, saying that we are representing them ..... this is a way to say we're going after this administration, holding them accountable.''

Further proof of the blatantly political nature of the Holder contempt vote is the decision by the National Rifle Association (NRA) to ``score'' the vote as part of their legislative report card to their membership. The NRA has long championed allowing the proliferation of assault weapons previously banned on American streets and sold over the counter, like the AK-47s found at Agent Terry's murder scene.

This entire episode is a stain on the reputation of this Republican led House of Representatives. It is appalling to know that the politics of personal destruction is the top policy priority of this Tea Party controlled House.

Again, I want to state my strong support for Attorney General Holder and the Obama Administration's efforts to cooperate with this on-going congressional investigation.

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