The Honorable John Boehner
Speaker of the House
U. S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515
Dear Speaker Boehner:
On behalf of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and the undersigned organizations, we write in response to a May 21, 2012 report in Politico that the House of Representatives will vote to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress if he fails to provide additional information related to the “Fast and Furious” program. We are deeply troubled by the prospect that the Attorney General will be cited for contempt by the House, and believe that such action is unwarranted. We urge you to reconsider that decision.
While we believe that a review of the Fast and Furious program is a legitimate exercise of congressional authority, we are concerned that the tenor and approach you are reportedly taking does a disservice to Congress, the Attorney General’s office, and the public, and may also be a partisan attempt to discredit the Attorney General.
The Attorney General has acknowledged problems and flaws in the Fast and Furious program. According to reports, the Attorney General and the Department of Justice have submitted more than 7000 pages of document to Congress, and the Attorney General has appeared before Congress on this issue a reported seven times. The Department has also reportedly made several senior officials available for testimony, interviews, and briefings.
In addition, the Attorney General has ordered the Inspector General to investigate and has provided him with tens of thousands of additional documents—documents that would be inappropriate to turn over to Congress, because they reportedly include law enforcement information, grand jury transcripts, and other information that would compromise ongoing investigations and prosecutions.
To put it simply, the attempt to cite General Holder for contempt seems to be a rush to judgment intended to create a stain on the office of the Attorney General. It is contributing to an environment of accusatory vitriol and malignant suspicion that is both unwarranted and a significant distraction at a time when the Attorney General needs to focus on the nation’s core problems. The harshness of the attacks themselves is misplaced, and to the extent these attacks are intended to divert the Attorney General from the vigorous enforcement of the nation’s laws—including those protecting civil rights, voting rights, disability rights, and other core concerns—we are deeply troubled. We are concerned that the contempt threat is intended to create a hostile environment aimed at pressuring the Attorney General to resign. This development is particularly disturbing because of the exemplary job the Attorney General has done in enforcing the nation’s civil rights laws.
The constituencies that we represent are eager to see our leaders focus on job creation, the continued reinvigoration of our economy, and the rooting out of waste, fraud and abuse. We urge you to reconsider this course of action. Thank you for your consideration.
African American Ministers in Action
The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee
Asian American Justice Center, member of Asian American Center for Advancing Justice
The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights
National Association of Human Rights Workers
National Association of Social Workers National Center for Transgender Equality National Partnership for Women and Families National Fair Housing Alliance
National Urban League
People For the American Way
Women in Federal Law Enforcement Foundation
Cc: The Honorable Eric Cantor
The Honorable Darrell Issa
The Honorable Elijah Cummings
From CNN: Organizations urge Boehner not to vote contempt against AG
It’s CNN’s report about the letter above.