Attorney General Eric Holder and Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) are slated to meet tomorrow to “avoid an unnecessary Constitutional confrontation” over botched gun-walking operation Fast and Furious.
Holder wrote in a letter that the department will brief Issa, the chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, on documents detailing how Fast and Furious “evolved” after department leaders say they became aware of the gun-walking tactics used during the investigation. Holder also wrote that department officials will discuss previous gun-walking operations, including the George W. Bush-era investigation known as Wide Receiver.
“We expect that this extraordinary accommodation will fully address the remaining concerns that you and House leadership have identified in your written and oral communications to the department over the last few weeks,” Holder wrote to Issa on Monday.
Last week, Issa told Holder to provide his committee with a “serious proposal” to avoid a contempt of Congress vote, which is scheduled for Wednesday. The House committee subpoenaed Holder for thousands of documents related to Fast and Furious as part of its congressional inquiry into the department’s handling of the operation. Holder has said the department cannot hand over certain documents because their disclosure could harm the integrity of ongoing investigations.
After bitter back and forth for months, the meeting suggests the two sides are willing to compromise, thereby side-stepping a vote on the contempt of Congress measure against Holder.
Fast and Furious was a failed gun-tracing operation headed by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Agents sold guns to straw-buyers in an attempt to eventually track the guns to Mexican cartels. But the operation backfired and hundreds of guns went missing. Two firearms were found at the scene of a shootout between U.S. Border Patrol Agents and Mexican bandits in December 2010. Border Agent Brian Terry was killed in the gunfire.
Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), the committee’s ranking member, said in a statement that he now sees “no reason to proceed with contempt given these positive developments.”