In 2012, the House voted to hold Eric Holder in contempt for refusing to turn over documents tied to the sting
House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz said the committee is still seeking more documents
House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz said Friday that the Obama administration has turned over documents related to the “Fast and Furious” operation.
The House voted in 2012 to hold then-Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt for refusing to turn over documents tied to the botched gun-running sting – a discredited operation that had become a sharp point of contention between Democrats and Republicans.
Chaffetz said the committee is still seeking additional records.
“Today, under court order, DOJ turned over some of the subpoenaed documents,” Chaffetz, a Utah Republican, said in a statement. “The committee, however, is entitled to the full range of documents for which it brought this lawsuit. Accordingly, we have appealed the District Court’s ruling in order to secure those additional documents.”
As part of its long-running investigation into the operation, the House Oversight Committee subpoenaed documents from the administration. But the White House declined to provide them, claiming some of the materials are protected under Obama’s executive privilege. After a legal fight over the issue, a federal court ordered the administration in January to hand over the documents, and on Friday, the committee received thousands of pages related to the operation.
“The department believes the information being provided to the committee, along with material previously disclosed, fully satisfies the committee’s interest in understanding the department’s response to congressional inquiries regarding Operation Fast and Furious,” the Department of Justice said in a statement late Friday afternoon.
Fast and Furious, a so-called “gun-walking” operation, allowed roughly 2,000 guns into Mexico with the goal of tracking them to Mexican drug cartels. Two guns found at the scene of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry’s fatal shooting were linked to the operation. Guns from the operation have also been linked to an unknown number of Mexican civilians’ deaths.
House Republicans said they needed documents to get to the circumstances surrounding Terry’s death, but Democrats insisted the probe was politically motivated.
In June 2012, House members approved a criminal contempt measure against Holder by a 255-67 vote. Nearly all House Republican backed it, along with 17 Democrats. The civil measure then passed in a sharply polarized 258-95 vote.
Many Democrats, including members of the Congressional Black Caucus and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, walked off the House floor in protest and refused to participate in the criminal vote.
Holder then dismissed the House action as “the regrettable culmination of what became a misguided – and politically motivated – investigation during an election year.”
CNN’s Evan Perez contributed to this report.