Issa: Holder’s Comments Reflect ‘Dysfunctional’ Washington

Thursday, 28 Feb 2013 07:20 PM

By Todd Beamon

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Rep. Darrell Issa said on Thursday that Attorney General Eric Holder’s admission that he does not respect Congress — particularly those who voted to hold him in contempt over the Operation Fast and Furious gun-running debacle — “offers a window into why Washington is so dysfunctional.”

“President [Barack] Obama once campaigned as someone who wanted to bring America together, but instead appointed divisive and highly partisan figures like Attorney General Holder who are arrogantly dismissive of those who question them and demand transparency,” said the California Republican, who is chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

Holder told ABC News on Wednesday that he was unfazed by the vote of most House Republicans and 17 Democrats to hold him in contempt of Congress last June over Fast and Furious.

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The bungled operation placed more than 2,000 weapons — including giant .50-caliber guns — into the hands of Mexican drug cartels and other criminals. Most of the weapons have never been recovered, and the scheme has been linked to the deaths of two federal agents and hundreds of Mexican nationals.

“It’s something that I think was unfortunate,” Holder told ABC. “It’s a result of this kind of partisan sport that I think we engage in here in Washington far too often.”

Holder said the votes did not bother him, considering who cast them.

“But I have to tell you that for me to really be affected by what happened, I’d have to have respect for the people who voted in that way,” Holder said. “And I didn’t, so it didn’t have that huge an impact on me.”

Issa’s committee spearheaded the investigation into the botched effort under the guise of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Firearms, Tobacco, and Explosives, a branch of the Justice Department.

The contempt vote was the first against a sitting Cabinet member. Issa had said it was necessary because Holder sought to cover up Fast and Furious by hiding emails and other information from committee investigators.

“Finding out why the Justice Department made false denials about Operation Fast and Furious, and only corrected the record after ten months of public pressure, is a legitimate exercise of congressional authority,” Issa said on Thursday. “The attorney general clearly believes he is above the law and is not accountable to the duly elected representatives of the American people or the institutions of our democracy.”

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