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Tipsheet

Fast and Furious: DOJ Wants Executive Privilege Lawsuit Dropped

In June, President Obama asserted executive privilege over Fast and Furious documents just moments before Attorney General Eric Holder was voted in contempt by the House Oversight Committee.  The House Oversight Committee then filed a lawsuit to challenge the executive privilege. President Obama claimed for more than a year Fast and Furious was a "low level, rogue operation" based in Phoenix but asserted executive privilege anyway. Now, the Department of Justice is asking for the lawsuit to be dismissed.

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The Justice Department on Monday night sought dismissal of a lawsuit by a Republican-led House of Representatives committee demanding that Attorney General Eric Holder produce records about the botched law enforcement probe of gun-trafficking called Operation Fast and Furious.

In its court papers, the Justice Department says the Constitution does not permit the courts to resolve the political dispute between the executive branch and the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee that is seeking the records. The political branches have a long history of resolving disputes over congressional requests without judicial intervention, the court filing said.

If the lawsuit is allowed to go forward, "countless other suits by Congress are sure to follow, given the volume of document requests issued by the dozens of congressional committees that perform oversight functions," the Justice Department's court filing stated. "This case thus illustrates vividly why the judiciary must defer to the time-tested political process for resolution of such disputes."

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If Fast and Furious was really a "low level, rogue operation" then executive privilege shouldn't have been asserted in the first place. The White House national security team was receiving emails about the Fast and Furious program while it was active in 2010, yet the White House has not made officials available for comment or interviews by congressional investigators about their involvement. 

 

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