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Congresswoman Waters Rejects Legislation to hold Attorney General Holder in Contempt of Congress


Location: Washington, DC

Today, Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) released the following statement in response to the Republicans resolution recommending that the House find Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress.

"Today, Congressman Issa, Chairman of the House Oversight Committee, in cooperation with the Republican Majority brought shame and dishonor upon the House with their concocted accusations against Attorney General Holder. For the past year, the Republicans have unsuccessfully tried to prove that the Attorney General was somehow involved in an elaborate scheme to cover-up facts regarding the botched Operation Fast and Furious and federal agents' use of "gunwalking" to combat the violence along the southwest border. Gunwalking was a tactic employed by the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) in which federal agents allowed thousands of guns to be bought by suspected arms traffickers working as straw purchasers on behalf of Mexican drug cartels. Although the Republicans have tried to pin sole responsibility to the current Administration, "gunwalking" actually stems from the Bush Administration's Operation Wide Receiver.

"Despite the fact that the Attorney General has testified before Congress nine times on the botched operation; provided almost 8,000 documents to congressional committees; and has made dozens of officials available for hearings and interviews, the Republicans have made every effort to undermine Attorney General Holder's cooperation with congressional hearings.

"At every step, Attorney General Holder has made every effort to comply and cooperate with the Republicans' phony investigation of "Fast and Furious.' It is clear, however, that Republicans are not interested in justice, but merely in undermining the Attorney General's credibility and manufacturing a scandal on the Obama Administration in a critical election year.

"Congressman Issa's crusade has produced no evidence that the Attorney General or senior Department officials were aware of gunwalking in Fast and Furious or knowingly lied or misled Congress. On the contrary, as soon as the Attorney General became aware of the tactic, he put a halt to it, ordered an IG investigation, and instituted internal reform measures. Since he failed to prove his initial accusations against the Attorney General, Congressman Issa moved the goal post once again. The documents now at issue are completely unrelated to how gunwalking was utilized in the operation and are legally barred from being disclosed as they contain confidential information.

"The U.S. House of Representatives has never held any Cabinet official in contempt. That Republicans would so frivolously resort to a measure preserved for the most egregious acts of obstruction is additional proof of their ongoing commitment to bring down the Obama Administration when they should be focused on uplifting the millions of Americans who remain unemployed or have lost their homes to foreclosure. As they have at critical points throughout the 112th Congress, Republicans continue to find new ways to abuse the legislative process.

"It is for these reasons that I joined with my colleagues in the Congressional Black Caucus in walking out on the illegitimate vote on the Republicans' contempt order. In these critical times, the Republicans should be focusing on jobs, not baseless political stunts."

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