by Jeremy Leaming
Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calf.), one of Congress’ wealthiest members and one who still oversees his business empire, worth hundreds of millions of dollars, while attempting to represent his congressional district, has advanced his attack on U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder.
The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, which Issa chairs, today voted along party lines to recommend the chamber find the attorney general in contempt of Congress for allegedly failing to provide enough documentation about the federal government's operations to curb drug smuggling and violence along the southern border, which was launched during the administration of George W. Bush.
The vote followed President Obama’s assertion of executive privilege to withhold the documents, the first time the administration has taken such action. The administrations of George W. Bush and Bill Clinton invoked the privilege numerous times.
Issa, who as The New York Times has reported juggles “dual careers, a meshing of public and private interests rarely seen in government,” came under sharp criticism from Democratic members of the House.
U.S. Rep. Elijah E. Cummings (D-Md.) told The Times the administration was forced into invoking privilege because of the Issa-led committee’s “unreasonable insistence on pressing forward with contempt despite the attorney general’s good faith offer.”
The Department of Justice has provided Issa’s committee nearly 8,000 documents for the congressional investigation into the tactics used in the federal government’s efforts to stop violence related to drug smuggling along the southern border.
But Issa and other Republican members on the committee have feigned disbelief, arguing that much more is needed to complete their work.
Holder responding to the vote on a contempt recommendation said Issa’s actions are all about election-year politics.