Rep. Darrel Issa (R-CA), the chairman of the House oversight committee investigating the Justice Department’s ill-conceived “Fast and Furious” program responsible for the 2010 murder of U.S. Border Patrol agent Brian Terry, appears to have lost his patience with the Obama administration.
In a letter to President Barack Obama, Rep. Issa harshly criticizes the White House’s decision to assert executive privileges in order to withhold subpoenaed documents from the Government Reform and Oversight Committee.
Rep. Issa’s letter says the decision to withhold certain documents raises two very serious issues:
Either you or your most senior advisers were involved in managing Operation Fast & Furious and the fallout from it … or, you are asserting a Presidential power that you know to be unjustified solely for the purpose of further obstructing a congressional investigation.
To date, the White House has steadfastly maintained that it has not had any role in advising the Department with respect to the congressional investigation. The surprising assertion of executive privilege raised the question of whether that is still the case.
As most Blaze already readers know, the Justice Department’s failure to turn over said documents prompted Rep. Issa’s committee last week to vote to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress.
Not surprisingly, based on past behavior that is, the White House blew off the congressman’s letter.
“The congressman’s analysis has as much merit as his absurd contention that Operation Fast and Furious was created in order to promote gun control,” said White House spokesman Eric Schultz.
“The Courts have routinely considered deliberative process privilege claims and affirmed the right of the executive branch to invoke the privilege even when White House documents are not involved,” he added.
The House is scheduled to vote this Thursday, the same day the Supreme Court will rule on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”), on recommendations that Holder be held in contempt of Congress for failing to produce requested “Fast and Furious” documents.
“Rep. Steny Hoyer of Maryland, the House Democrats’ chief head counter, said he expected some Democrats to follow the National Rifle Association’s call for a ‘yes’ vote on contempt,” the Associated Press reports.
“The NRA has written to all members of Congress, saying the White House wanted to use the Operation Fast and Furious gun-tracking operation to advance a gun control agenda,” the report adds.
Rep. Hoyer didn’t specify the number of potential defectors.