After an impassioned speech by Utah Republican Rep. Jason Chaffetz demanding accountability from the Justice Dept, 142 House Democrats backed an amendment which prevents the Department of Justice from using taxpayer funds to lie to Congress. The vote reflects bipartisan frustration with Attorney General Eric Holder.
Matthew Boyle of the Daily Caller reported:
Chaffetz pitched House Democrats in a feisty House floor speech before the vote to join him in demanding accountability. He argued that Attorney General Eric Holder’s failure to comply with the Fast and Furious congressional subpoena is anything but a partisan political fight. He said it’s an issue of separation of powers between the legislative and executive branches, and that all Americans “should be embarrassed by what’s happening in Fast and Furious.”
“If we get stonewalling on the other side of the aisle, without your support, we will do a disservice to this country, we will do a disservice to this body and we will not get to the truth,” Chaffetz said on the House floor on Wednesday. “I promise you, when that becomes a Republican president, I will stand with you and demand the openness and transparency that this body deserves. I’ve done it; I’ve challenged my own party, *I have the guts, I have the fortitude to do the right thing.”
Chaffetz challenged the House Democrats to come forward and help him, House Oversight Committee Chairman Rep. Darrell Issa and others: “This is the test of principle, this is the test of integrity, and when you can’t stand up and take on your own party, that’s a lack of guts,” Chaffetz said. “This Congress has got to stand up for itself and demand that these documents be released.”
In a promising sign that Dems are breaking ranks, Chaffetz got his bipartisan support.
Indiana’s new Republican candidate Richard Mourdock — who just defeated six-term Sen. Richard Lugar in the GOP primary — told The Daily Caller that he thinks Attorney General Eric Holder “should have been fired a long time ago” for Operation Fast and Furious.
“I mean, I’d accept his resignation, but he should have been fired,” Mourdock said during a conference call on Thursday evening. “The tracks of it [Fast and Furious] run so deep through the Department of Justice, somebody has to be held responsible. There’s just no accountability within the administration.”
Congress’ investigation has gone on for more than a year and a half, yet Justice has only complied with 12 of our 22 subpoena requests for documents. The American people deserve answers; Congress deserves the information we asked for.
As a former prosecutor, I take no joy in moving to cut appropriations for Justice, but it’s about respect for the rule of law and holding those in power to the same standard as those not in power.
What would happen to you if you ignored a jury summons, failed to comply with a grand-jury subpoena or ignored a lawful demand for documents from a congressional committee? You’d be sanctioned, held in contempt, and likely jailed.