DesJarlais Votes To Hold AG Holder In Contempt Of Congress
Posted on June 22, 2012
DesJarlais Votes to Hold Attorney General Eric Holder in Contempt of Congress
WASHINGTON, DC - Representative Scott DesJarlais, who represents Giles County in Washington, issued the following
statement after the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform voted to hold
Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress.
"It is truly regrettable that we have gotten to this point, but the attorney
general's actions have simply left us with no other choice. The Justice Department
has continued to stonewall congressional investigators despite numerous requests for
information relating to the gun walking operation known as Fast and Furious. At this
point, I can draw no other conclusion than Mr. Holder is deliberately and actively
withholding information for purely political reasons. The American people deserve
answers as to who knew, who authorized and who could have stopped this flawed
operation that contributed to the death of border patrol agent Brian Terry and over
200 Mexican citizens."
Below are Representative DesJarlais opening remarks as prepared from today's
Oversight Committee hearing:
The Honorable Scott DesJarlais
Oversight and Government Reform Committee
June 20, 2012
Mr. Chairman, thank you for bringing us here today, and thank you for diligence in
pursuing this extremely important matter.
I truly wish that it hadn't gotten to this point, but the actions of the Justice
Department have left us with no other choice. This is far from political theater.
This is a legitimate investigation into an operation - the Fast and the Furious -
that was so flawed that it flew right into the face of common sense. There are many
people in this room on both sides of the aisle that would agree that one person -
any person - within the chain of command in this federal bureaucracy should have
stopped this gun walking operation that put the lives of law enforcement officials
and innocent citizens in harm's way.
We were originally told that this was a flawed decision made by local officials.
Then we learned that, in fact, there was significant information known by officials
in Washington about the conception and execution of this operation. At the Oversight
Committee hearing on February 2, 2012, I learned that information required for this
committee to complete its investigation into Operation Fast and Furious is being
held inside "Fortress Holder." It is high time for the Attorney General to stop the
stalling tactics and produce the documents the Committee has been seeking.
I am concerned that my remarks at that hearing have turned out to be prophetic. I
said then that "what may appear as political appears now somewhat as a cover up. A
lot of information here doesn't seem to be accurate and I think that's why the
number of hearings continue to go on, because I don't think we're getting the full
The Obama Administration and the Justice Department cannot continue to stonewall the
Committee any longer. The American people want answers. Agent Terry's family
deserves answers. It's time for the Attorney General to produce the documents. As
I made clear in a recent statement, "We have given the Attorney General ample
opportunity to come forth and present the facts surrounding Fast and Furious, yet
his department has refused to cooperate. After reviewing the draft report, I
believe that this is an appropriate course of action and urge Chairman Issa to move
forward with this resolution holding Attorney General Holder in contempt of
Again, Mr. Chairman, I come here today not as a political partisan, but as someone
who simply wants the truth to come out. This committee is designed to shine the
light on the inner workings of federal decision making. At the last minute, the
Department came to offer only a small portion of documents in exchange for the end
of this investigation. Mr. Chairman, to accept that kind of deal would preclude the
American people from the kind of transparency that we are charged to provide. This
situation demands full disclosure and full accountability.
The contempt report before us today is thorough and accurate. I urge my colleagues
to join me in supporting the committee's efforts to hold the Justice Department
accountable. Thank you, and I yield back.