WASHINGTON – Rep. Tom Graves (R-GA-09) released the following statement today after voting in favor of H.Res. 711, which holds U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress over his refusal to cooperate with the investigation of the controversial “Fast and Furious” gun-running operation.
“Today, none of us in the House took pleasure in holding a sitting Attorney General in contempt of Congress. This was an unfortunate, but necessary, step. Attorney General Holder has repeatedly ignored calls from Congress to cooperate with a joint investigation into the botched “Fast and Furious” operation, and his credibility on this issue is quickly disappearing. If Mr. Holder won’t do his job and let Congress see the documents related to the operation, we have no choice but to force him to answer to the American people.”
The “Fast and Furious” program oversaw sales of nearly 2,000 firearms to suspected Mexican drug cartels in an attempt to trace gun trafficking. But, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) recovered only 567 of the guns. Many of the guns were found at violent crime scenes, including at the shooting death of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry.
After today’s vote, the U.S. Attorney in Washington will be able to file a criminal case to force Holder to comply with the congressional subpoena. This is unlikely, though, because the U.S. Attorney works for Holder. So, the House will likely hire an outside attorney to file a civil lawsuit asking a judge to compel Holder to cooperate with the “Fast and Furious” investigation. Last week, President Obama granted the Attorney General’s request to exert executive privilege over “Fast and Furious” documents in order to prevent having to turn them over.
Rep. Graves co-sponsored H.R. 490 earlier this year, which expressed no confidence in Holder’s leadership of the Justice Department. Rep. Graves also signed a letter sent to President Obama in 2011, urging the President to hold Mr. Holder accountable for Fast and Furious – and to ask for his resignation.