Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) says he is giving the Justice Department a down-to-the-wire chance to resolve issues surrounding his Fast and Furious inquiry before a House committee takes a vote on a contempt measure against Attorney General Eric Holder.
“Let me be clear — if the Department of Justice submits a serious proposal for how it intends to alter its refusal to produce critical documents subpoenaed by the committee, I am ready and willing to meet to discuss your proposal,” Issa, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, wrote to Holder on Wednesday.
The California Republican’s comments come apparently after Holder told the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday that he has told Issa he is willing to sit down and mediate the situation without creating a “constitutional crisis.”
“We have reached out to Issa to work through issues,” Holder told the committee. “I’ve got to have a willing partner. I’ve extended my hand and I’m waiting to hear back.”
The House Oversight Committee announced it would be holding a vote next Wednesday on a contempt of Congress measure against Holder regarding a tussle over Fast and Furious documents. The Justice Department is under subpoena to turn over thousands of additional documents related to the botched gun-walking operation. The department has said, however, that it cannot hand over everything being asked of it because some of the information is sensitive and its disclosure could harm the integrity of ongoing investigations.
Fast and Furious was a failed gun-tracing investigation headed by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Agents sold guns to straw-buyers in an attempt to track the weapons to Mexican drug cartels. The operation backfired, however, and hundreds of guns went missing. Two guns from the investigation were found at the scene of a 2010 shootout between U.S. Border Patrol Agents and Mexican bandits. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was killed in the gunfire.