Issa to Holder: You Said You Want to Talk, Let's Talk

Posted: Jun 13, 2012 2:47 PM

Chairman of the House Oversight Committee Darrell Issa plans to move ahead with a contempt vote against Attorney General Eric Holder next week for his stonewalling of the Fast and Furious Congressional investigation, so long as Holder fails to comply with an October 2011 subpoena before then. Yesterday, Holder said before the Senate Judiciary Committee he was willing to cooperate with the investigation. Issa is taking him up on the offer and has sent a letter to Holder saying, "let's talk."

I write to respond to the Deputy Attorney General letter from Monday, and to comments you made yesterday, expressing a desire to meet. As our staffs have discussed, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and the Department of Justice are at an impasse over documents the Department has refused to produce. Let me be clear -- if the Department of Justice submits a serious proposal for how it intents to alter its refusal to produce critical documents subpoenaed by the Committee, I am ready and willing to meet and discuss your proposal.

If the Department wishes to settle this dispute short of contempt, the Committee has offered it a clear path to do so without the need to disclose sensitive documents created during Operations Fast and Furious.

In making repeated accommodations, the Committee has made a good faith effort to allow the Department to meet its obligations to comply with the Committee's subpoena. For the Department to argue otherwise without making a serious offer to alter its opposition to producing subpoenaed documents is highly disingenuous. If the Department is prepared to engage in discussions based upon a stated willingness to drop its opposition to providing material from after February 4, 2011, that may reflect internal deliberations, I may ask that you indicate such intention. If the Department has another proposal for altering its objections to providing subpoenaed material, I ask that you promptly submit that proposal for consideration as a basis for productive discussion.

Again, I appreciate your effort to resolve this dispute. I believe the interests of the Department, Congress and those directly affected by reckless conduct in Operation Fast and Furious are best served by an agreement that renders the process of contempt unnecessary.

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