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On the same day last week that the Supreme Court upheld ObamaCare, another potentially explosive election issue was front and center in the House of Representatives. By a vote of 255-67, Attorney General Eric Holder was found by the House to be in contempt of Congress; 108 Democrats, led by Nancy Pelosi, walked out on the vote. Eric Holder now has the rather dubious honor of being the first sitting attorney general to be found in contempt of Congress.
To find out what led to this contempt of Congress vote for the attorney general, we have to go back to 2009, the year the Holder-led Department of Justice instituted a gunrunning program called “Operation Fast and Furious.” A certain suspension of logic is required to understand what the DOJ and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) were trying to accomplish with this program. We do know that gun sellers in Phoenix were instructed to sell firearms to anyone, even those they suspected were involved in drug cartels. The idea was to identify, trace and eliminate arms trafficking networks, which are inextricably linked to drug cartels. One small problem: the firearms were never outfitted with tracers and were allowed to “walk” over the border into Mexico. One of these guns was subsequently used to murder U.S. border patrol agent Brian Terry.
Thankfully, an ATF whistleblower came forward to shed light on the botched and tragic results of Fast and Furious. Congressional inquiries soon began in an attempt to get answers from those responsible for this monumental government failure that resulted in the death of a courageous public servant and beloved son. You would think that President Obama and his attorney general, the chief law enforcement officer of the nation, would be interested in justice for Brian Terry, right? You would be wrong.
After months of stonewalling Congressional investigators, Holder was instructed by the House Oversight Committee to produce thousands of documents relating to Fast and Furious and, quite possibly, Holder’s duplicity in it. President Obama, in the political equivalent of a CYA (cover you’re a**) move, invoked executive privilege to prevent Holder from having to produce the requested documents. The use of this tactic almost certainly assures that the Obama administration has something to hide when it comes to Fast and Furious.
Congress was not deterred by the use of executive privilege to shield Eric Holder and went ahead with the contempt of Congress vote. In an appalling display of political shenanigans, Nancy Pelosi and a slew of Democrats walked out on the vote, claiming it to be racially motivated. Apparently, not all of her Democrat colleagues bought into this nonsense, with 17 of them voting in favor of the contempt charge against Holder.
The President often chastises Congress as being “do-nothing” (even though his party does control the Senate), but what he is doing here is worse than doing nothing, it’s active obstruction of justice. Furthermore, despite touting that his would be “the most transparent administration in history,” President Obama and his attorney general seem to be anything but.
It’s this simple: Brian Terry’s family deserves answers, and Eric Holder and the Obama administration are more interested in preserving themselves politically than they are in pursuing justice. What is happening transcends simple election year back-and-forth and political rhetoric -- it is justice denied and Congress is right in demanding answers. Until he provides them, we should all hold Eric Holder in contempt.
Teri Christoph is the co-founder of Smart Girl Politics, a non-profit organization for conservative women, and co-chair of She-PAC, a hybrid PAC supporting conservative women candidates. Follow her on Twitter: @TeriChristoph.