By Tomer Ovadia
Democratic lawmakers blasted the filing of a federal lawsuit against Attorney General Eric Holder on Monday, with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi charging that the effort is an attempt to suppress voter rights.
"This partisan lawsuit wastes taxpayer dollars and resources, and is a distraction from the urgent business before Congress: acting to create jobs and grow our economy," she said in a statement. "It is also designed to distract the Justice Department from its critical job of challenging state laws designed to restrict the rights of Americans to vote."
Rep. Elijah Cummings, the top Democrat on the committee that filed the lawsuit and a lead Democratic lawmaker who pushed unsuccessfully against the contempt vote, said in a statement that Republicans "prefer to generate unnecessary conflict with the administration."
"It seems clear that House Republican leaders do not want to resolve the contempt issue and prefer to generate unnecessary conflict with the Administration as the election nears," Cummings said in the statement.
"Unfortunately, the American public suffers as House Republicans disregard the real work that needs to be done."
Rep. Darrell Issa, the committee's chairman who has spearheaded the contempt effort, defended the lawsuit in a statement claiming that President Barack Obama's use of executive privilege to prevent the release of documents on the Fast and Furious was an attempt to "obstruct the truth about the reckless conduct that contributed to the death of a Border Patrol agent and countless Mexican citizens."
"President Obama exceeded his authority by asserting executive privilege over subpoenaed documents related to the Justice Department's cover-up of Operation Fast and Furious," he said in the statement. "Waiting nearly eight months after the subpoena had been issued to assert a meritless claim of privilege, the President's decision was a calculated political maneuver designed to stop the release of documents until after November's elections."
Meanwhile, court records revealed that the judge assigned to the case is Amy Jackson, who was appointed by Obama in 2010 and has experience in privilege arguments, having defended Rep. William Jefferson (D-La.) in his criminal corruption case.