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PRESS
June 22, 2012

CREW Calls on Chairman Issa to Drop Contempt Recommendation for AG Eric Holder

Darrell IssaWashington, D.C. – Today, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) asked House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) to withdraw the recommendation that Attorney General Eric Holder be found in contempt of Congress.  The party line vote recommending the attorney general be found in contempt for refusing to turn over documents unrelated to the details of the Fast and Furious Operation is nothing more than a partisan parlor trick.

“Fast and Furious was a disaster and Attorney General Holder and the Justice Department should answer for it,” said CREW Executive Director Melanie Sloan.  “But the records Republicans are howling about – which have nothing at all to do with the operation – won’t shed any light on how it all went so wrong.  This isn’t about transparency, it’s about politics and the upcoming elections.”

The documents Chairman Issa currently is seeking relate to how the Department of Justice (DOJ) responded to the committee’s requests for information regarding Fast and Furious as well as the resulting media coverage two years after the operation was shut down.  It is this small group of records – that provide no details of the program – over which President Obama has invoked executive privilege.  The fact that DOJ previously has produced thousands of pages regarding the operation is apparently irrelevant to the committee, which is now pursuing a contempt charge against Attorney General Holder. 

“CREW has long been a strong opponent of the use of executive privilege to block congressional and public access to information that reveals how and why our government makes decisions, but this is not such a case,” continued Sloan.  “The fast and furious designation easily could be applied to the House Republicans’ shenanigans: with the presidential election fast approaching, Rep. Issa and his cadre are working furiously to gin up enmity against the administration.  It’s no wonder the public is fed up with Congress.”

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) is a non-profit legal watchdog group dedicated to holding public officials accountable for their actions. For more information, please visit www.citizensforethics.org or contact Jordan Libowitz at 202.408.5565 or jlibowitz@citizensforethics.org.

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