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Public Statements

H. Res. 711, Recommending that the House of Representatives Find Eric H. Holder, Jr., Attorney General, U.S. Department of Justice, in Contempt of Congress for Refusal to Comply with a Subpoena Duly Issued by the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

Mr. CUMMINGS. Mr. Speaker, the Resolution holding Attorney General Eric H. Holder, Jr. in contempt of Congress and the accompanying report approved by the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform have significant flaws. Although some are simply misleading, others are significant legal deficiencies and factual errors that may call into the question the validity of the Resolution itself. These flaws are described in detail in a document available at http://go.usa.gov/vSU and are hereby incorporated for the record into these remarks.

For example, the Resolution and report would hold the Attorney General in contempt for not producing documents that were never demanded by the Committee's subpoena. The Committee's subpoena was issued on October 11, 2011, and it explicitly demanded documents up to the date it was issued. Documents created after October 11, 2011, clearly fall outside of the scope of the subpoena.

Yet, the Resolution and report would hold the Attorney General in contempt for not producing documents created between October 11, 2011, and December 2, 2011. The Resolution states, ``That Eric H. Holder, Jr., Attorney General of the United States, shall be found to be in contempt of Congress for failure to comply with a congressional subpoena.'' The report explicitly covers documents from the date the Department sent a letter to Senator Charles Grassley on February 4, 2011, to the date it formally withdrew that letter on December 2, 2011. The report states that the Attorney General should be held in contempt for not producing documents regarding ``why it took so long for the Department to withdraw the letter.''

Committee Chairman Darrell E. Issa reiterated his demand for documents covering this time period before an ``emergency meeting'' of the Rules Committee. When asked about this deficiency, the interpretation he provided of his own subpoena was incorrect. He stated: ``......[runs to the end of this Congress].'' In contrast, the text of the subpoena itself states: ``With the exception of paragraphs 4 and 5, the time period covered by this subpoena is from August 1, 2009 to the present, unless otherwise specified.'' Since the subpoena was issued on October 11, 2011, it clearly covered documents only until October 11, 2011. Under the Chairman's interpretation, the subpoena's reference to ``the present'' actually would mean ``the future.''
The Committee's full subpoena is available for review at http://go.usa.gov/wuD and is hereby incorporated for the record into these remarks.
It should come as no surprise that the Resolution and Committee report contain such obvious deficiencies because Republican House leaders rushed to schedule the Floor vote only one week after the Committee voted on a strictly party-line basis to approve them.


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