Holder (Charles Dharapak/AP)
The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee will vote June 20 on whether to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt, the committee announced Monday morning.
The committee, led by Republican Chairman Darrell Issa, will consider whether to hold Holder in contempt of Congress for "his failure to produce documents specified in the Committee's October 12, 2011, subpoena" related to its investigation of the much-maligned "Fast and Furious" gun-walking operation, the committee said in a statement.
[Related: Holder pushes blame onto Bush administration]
The Department of Justice documents in question were created after Feb. 4, 2011, and are being withheld because they supposedly show internal Justice Department deliberations, Issa said in a separate statement. But Issa rejected that argument, saying: "Congress has an obligation to investigate unanswered questions about attempts to smear whistleblowers, failures by Justice Department officials to be truthful and candid with the congressional investigation, and the reasons for the significant delay in acknowledging reckless conduct in Operation Fast and Furious."
House Speaker John Boehner backed up Issa's criticism, saying in a separate statement that the "Justice Department is out of excuses":
Congress has given Attorney General Holder more than enough time to fully cooperate with its investigation into "Fast and Furious," and to help uncover the circumstances regarding the death of Border Agent Brian Terry. Agent Terry's family, the whistleblowers who brought this issue to light, and the American people deserve answers. Either the Justice Department turns over the information requested, or Congress will have no choice but to move forward with holding the Attorney General in contempt for obstructing an ongoing investigation.
In Operation Fast and Furious, agents sold firearms that were intended to reach Mexican drug cartels as a way of letting the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives track cartel gun trafficking. However, a majority of the guns were never traced, and some have since been found at the scene of violent crimes, including the shooting death of Arizona border patrolman Terry in December 2010.
Holder has testified about Operation Fast and Furious numerous times on Capitol Hill, most recently before the House Judiciary Committee last Thursday.