House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa asked Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz to testify next month before the committee about his much-anticipated report on Operation Fast and Furious.
Horowitz sent a draft version of his report to ATF, the Attorney General and the Office of the Deputy Attorney General on Tuesday, according to a letter sent by Issa today. Normal procedure gives the recipients two weeks to respond with questions and comments before such a report is released publicly, Issa notes in the letter to Horowitz. The California Republican requests Horowitz testify on Sept. 11 at 9:30 a.m. before the committee to discuss his findings.
The Justice Department’s next step hinges heavily upon the report’s findings, which Attorney General Eric Holder has said will help inform any recourse he hands down. He has told the committee that he will not make any personnel changes until the IG report is released.
Issa warned Horowitz about falling prey to “political pressure” from Justice Department senior officials.
“It would be regrettable if senior department officials applied political pressure on you to delay publication of this report,” Issa wrote. ”Given the considerable public interest in this case and the Attorney General’s own purported interest in learning the recommendations set forth in your report in order to make important management changes, it is incumbent upon you to release this report as soon as practicable.’
The congressional investigation came to a head in late June when the House voted to find Holder in contempt of Congress for refusing to hand over a number of department documents under subpoena by the committee. Holder has said certain documents related to the botched gun-walking operation cannot be released because the could hurt the integrity of ongoing investigations. GOP lawmakers have said Holder is stonewalling their investigation.
The Justice Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment regarding today’s letter.