Congressman Francisco "Quico" Canseco (TX-23), who represents a district with almost 800 miles of U.S.-Mexico border, issued the following statement after the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee voted to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress for his failure to produce subpoenaed documents sought by the committee in its investigation of the failed Operation Fast and Furious:
"Congress has a constitutional duty to provide oversight of the Executive Branch. This is part of our nation's system of checks and balances put in place by the Founding Fathers to ensure that the Executive Branch remains accountable to the American people . Many in Congress -- including me -- have heard from constituents that want answers on what went wrong during Operation Fast and Furious so the mistakes made during this failed operation can be avoided in the future and further lives are not lost. The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee has been fulfilling its constitutional responsibility in investigating this failed operation for over a year and half to get these answers. I had hoped Attorney General Eric Holder would have fully cooperated with the committee's investigation and turned over the documents subpoenaed by the committee, but unfortunately he did not. Given the Attorney General's lack of cooperation, the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform had little choice but to proceed with Contempt of Congress charges as they work to get the answers the American people are demanding."
Operation Fast and Furious was a secret gunrunning operation implemented by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Department of Justice aimed at tracking suspected arms traffickers. The Operation led to the sale of over 2,000 firearms, less than half of which have been recovered. Guns from the operation have been found at crime scenes on both sides of the border and have been attributed to the death of at least one federal U.S. law enforcement agent.