Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) and past chairmen of the House Oversight Committee filed an amicus brief Wednesday in the House Republicans’ contempt suit against Attorney General Eric Holder in the wake of Operation Fast and Furious.
The brief calls the lawsuit, spearheaded by House Republicans, a “partisan goal” rather than a legitimate attempt at obtaining important information regarding the botched gun-walking investigation.
Cummings was joined by Rep. John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.), Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) and Rep. Edolphus Towns (D-N.Y.). The ranking member of the House Committee on Rules, Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.), joined as well.
The brief contends that the court should exercise its discretion and dismiss the lawsuit because the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, currently chaired by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), failed in its constitutional obligation to avoid unnecessary conflict.
“The constitution obliges the party seeking judicial intervention to first seek resolution through good-faith negotiation and accommodation,” the brief states.
The brief criticizes House Republicans’ rushed timeline of investigation and the filing of the contempt case, stating that “it was and is more focused on the partisan goal of holding the Attorney General in contempt than on the legislative goal of obtaining information pertinent to its investigation.”
The brief also voices a fear that the lawsuit seeks judicial intervention hastily before the investigation and due diligence is complete.
“[T]his case implicates considerations of self-protection that are among the most important reasons for the rules of judicial restraint discussed above-to enable courts to resist being enlisted as one branch’s pawn in political fights.”
The lawsuit was filed in August, with House Republicans hoping it would compel Holder to hand over a number of documents related to the gun-walking operation. Holder was found in contempt of Congress in June after a mostly party-line vote.