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

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. LYNCH. Mr. Speaker, I would add that we have 31 Democrats that signed a letter to the Department of Justice and to the White House in the aftermath of Agent Terry's death to fully cooperate in this investigation. However, I rise in strong opposition to this contempt resolution.

While criticism of the Department of Justice for oversight of the so-called ``gunwalking'' operations--conducted during both the Bush administration and the current administration--may be warranted, a finding of contempt against the sitting Attorney General of the United States is most certainly not.

In determining whether this House should hold our highest-ranking national law enforcement officer in contempt of Congress, let us remember that up until last week the majority of our committee had been demanding the production of documents that our Attorney General is legally prohibited from disclosing and that has caused much of the delay here. In other words, Mr. Holder would have broken the law and likely compromised existing criminal prosecutions if he adhered to the majority's unreasonable request for materials that related to ongoing criminal investigations, Federal wiretap communications under judicial seal, and documents also subject to grand jury secrecy rules.

Let us also be mindful that we are considering the extent of cooperation, or noncooperation, of an Attorney General who has appeared before Congress on nine separate occasions, whose Justice Department has produced over 7,600 pages of documents to oversight investigators and who continues to offer significant accommodations in response to extraordinary and ever-changing requests for information.

Meanwhile, the majority continues to deny any and all Democratic requests to publicly question, under oath, law enforcement officials, including former Director of the ATF, Ken Melson, the head of the very Agency that ran the gunwalking operations such as Fast and Furious.

Accordingly, it's become quite clear that what began as a legitimate and compelling oversight committee investigation into Operation Fast and Furious has deteriorated into an unfortunate example of politics and partisanship at their worst.

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Mr. LYNCH. In closing, I urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to oppose this contempt resolution.

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