Grassley to Holder: Show Good Faith and Turn Over Documents PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Grassley Press   
Friday, 15 June 2012 08:15

Senator Chuck Grassley says Attorney General Eric Holder can avoid the constitutional stand-off created by the Department of Justice by ending its stonewalling in the Fast and Furious gun-walking scandal.

 

Click here for audio.

Here is the text of the address:

This week, I’ve urged Attorney General Eric Holder to exercise leadership and avoid the constitutional stand-off that the Department of Justice has created with its stonewalling in the Fast and Furious gun-walking scandal.

During a Senate Judiciary Committee oversight hearing on Tuesday, the Attorney General sounded willing to negotiate, at last, over releasing documents.  That’s fine if the offer isn’t hollow.  We’ve been talking for a year and a half, and a show of good faith would be to produce the documents in question.

The documents concern the government’s Fast and Furious program.  In December 2010, Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry died in a shoot-out with Mexican bandits.  Those bandits were armed with weapons our own government allowed to be purchased and transferred illegally under Operation Fast and Furious.  Whistleblowers came to me with allegations.  They testified nearly a year ago about the use of this practice.  The Department of Justice denied the allegations to me for 10 months before being forced to withdraw its denial in the face of evidence to the contrary.

Yet, today, the family of Brian Terry is still waiting for answers.  It’s waiting for justice.  The FBI doesn’t have the shooter in custody.  And, the Justice Department is still defying a congressional subpoena for information about how all of this happened.   The chairman of the House oversight committee has scheduled a vote next week on whether to hold the Attorney General in contempt of Congress for failing to turn over the documents.

The House committee action is straightforward and necessary.  Contempt is the only tool Congress has to enforce a subpoena.  The Department of Justice can avoid the action by complying with its legal obligation.  The contempt citation is not about personalities.  It’s a procedural mechanism in our system of checks and balances.  If Congress is afraid to pursue answers to questions, it’s not doing its job.  People deserve transparency from their government.  Transparency leads to the truth about what’s going on.  It puts people in a position to defend their rights.  It protects our freedoms.

The facts are important as a matter of accountability.  Related to Fast and Furious, at the Senate hearing this week, Attorney General Holder said that a previous Attorney General, Michael Mukasey, was briefed on a gun walking in the government’s Operation Wide Receiver and did absolutely nothing.  Well, there’s no evidence of that.  In fact, documents show Attorney General Mukasey was briefed about a different case involving a controlled delivery.  The evidence also shows that more recently, assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer did learn about gun walking in Operation Wide Receiver and did absolutely nothing.  Again, the facts matter, and the nation’s top law enforcement officer should take care to get them right.  Since the hearing, I’ve asked Attorney General Holder to provide any information in support of his statement about Attorney General Mukasey.

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