Attorney General Eric Holder isn't having a good week. On Monday, he was grilled before Congress. The same thing happened on Tuesday in the Senate. Both hearings were the result of a congressional subpoena that was issued back in October of 2011.
Holder ignored the subpoena from the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee for months. Only when political pressure grew significantly did he finally decide to appear in front of Congress.
Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), chairman of the House Oversight Committee, requested all available documentation on Operation Fast and Furious, a botched gunrunning operation that was supposed to track guns on the black market. Holder produced only 7,600 of the 140,000 documents pertaining to that operation.
Despite much of the mainstream media largely ignoring Operation Fast and Furious, it has become a very serious case. Fast and Furious grew out of the Bush administration’s Project Gunrunner. Whereas Project Gunrunner was designed to deny the cartels the tools of the trade, Fast and Furious took things a step further. The operation allowed over 2,000 firearms from the U.S. to be taken by Mexican smugglers across the border in hopes that they could later be traced to the Mexican drug cartels.
During the course of this poorly executed operation, hundreds of these firearms were lost. Many are now suspected in some particularly deadly crimes, the most famous of which was the shooting death of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry, who was killed in December 2010. Other evidence has linked these guns to the deaths of individuals in Mexico.
There’s now a very real possibility that Holder will be charged with contempt for failing to comply fully with a congressional subpoena. Rep. Issa and the rest of the Oversight Committee have the full support of the House leadership, including Speaker John Boehner (R-OH).
Holder is also on the hot seat for allegedly misleading Congress that he was not aware of Operation Fast and Furious, despite the fact that only a few months beforehand he had mentioned it by name. Other documents have also recently come forward that have shown that Holder as well as other high-ranking members of the Justice Department knew more than they led on about the deadly operation.
Some of these documents pertained to six applications for wiretaps. If they had gone through, they would have allowed investigators in Arizona to listen in on phone calls to and from individuals that were working with the cartels. Despite the fact that these documents have since been sealed by a federal judge, they're still incredibly harmful to Holder and the rest of the Justice Department.
During this week’s back-to-back hearings, Holder failed to recall the answers to numerous questions. He seemed quite pleased to avoid or sidestep others. When a frustrated Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) stated that Holder should resign, the Attorney General remained defiant.
Over 130 members of the House have officially called for Holder to resign. Even worse for him, this is not the first time he finds himself in hot water.
During the 2008 presidential election, several members of the New Black Panther Party were accused of voter intimidation outside of a polling place in Philadelphia. During the investigation, Christopher Coates, a Justice Department prosecutor, stated that he believed that many in the department had no intention of pursuing the case. Holder later went on to state how the cases focus demeaned ‘his people,’ forgetting that regardless of race, everyone is entitled to equal protection under the law.
In another case, when news of the now infamous Solyndra scandal first became apparent, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX) requested that Holder appoint a special bankruptcy investigator. Holder stonewalled the investigation.
Holder is not the first attorney general to find himself in hot water, however it’s worth nothing that some of his predecessors were drummed out for a lot less. In 2007, former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales resigned after the questionable firing of eight U.S. attorneys, who by the way serve at the pleasure of the president anyways. At the time, no one seemed to remember or care that President Clinton had dismissed all 93 of them in 1993.
At the very least, Holder is a man not suited for the office he occupies. At most, Holder has shown himself to be completely incompetent and corrupt. Between ignoring prominent cases, shrugging off Congressional subpoenas, and mismanaging a sting operation to the point where it resulted in the deaths of Americans, it has become abundantly clear that Eric Holder should indeed resign.
If he does not, then Congress would be well within their right to impeach him.