Issa (J. Scott Applewhite/AP)Rep. Darrell Issa announced Tuesday evening that he has no plans to delay Wednesday's House Oversight Committee vote to hold Eric Holder in contempt of Congress following his meeting with the Attorney General on Capitol Hill. Issa is chairman of the committee.
The Congressman said in a statement that the Justice Department had confirmed last Thursday that it possessed documents the committee subpoenaed in its investigation of Operation Fast and Furious, a federal move that let U.S. weapons pass into the hands of Mexican drug cartels. But Holder made no promise Tuesday that those documents would be delivered.
"Today, the Attorney General informed us that the Department would not be producing those documents," Issa said. "The only offer they made involved us ending our investigation. While I still hope the Department will reconsider its decision so tomorrow's vote can be postponed, after this meeting I cannot say that I am optimistic."
Holder told reporters following the meeting that he believes Republicans are simply playing politics. "Given the extraordinary nature of the offer that we made and given the extraordinary way in which we have shared materials to date that I think we are actually involved more in political gamesmanship as opposed to trying to get the information they say they want," Holder said.
Issa and Holder had scheduled the meeting ahead of Wednesday's vote in the hopes of reaching an agreement. Issa warned in a letter Monday night that nothing short of the Justice Department fulfilling the committee's request for documents related to Operation Fast and Furious would prompt him to delay the vote.
Congressional Republicans, led by Issa and Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, have been waging a lengthy battle to hold the government accountable for the failure of the Fast and Furious gun-walking operation and investigate why the failure occurred.
Following his official push to hold Holder in contempt of Congress, which he announced last week, Issa has earned public support from House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman John Cornyn (R-Tex.) and other Republicans.