Wednesday, June 27, 2012
Black Lawmakers Plan 'Walkout Strategy' During Holder Contempt Vote
The Congressional Black Caucus is circulating a letter encouraging its membership not to participate in the vote on citing Attorney General Eric Holder for contempt:
We write to urge you to stand with us in the pursuit of justice for the Attorney General of the United States of America, Eric H. Holder. In its history, the United States House of Representatives has never held a United States Attorney General, or any other Cabinet official, in contempt.
Instead of focusing on job creation and other critical issues before this Congress, we have been asked to engage in a political stunt on the floor of the United States House of Representatives. Our constituents elected us to do real work, not to engage in meaningless partisan activity.
Over the past 15 months, Attorney General Eric Holder and the Department of Justice have cooperated with the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform's requests for information on "Fast and Furious", an unfortunate operation that began under the Bush Administration and, in fact, was terminated by Attorney General Holder. The Department has made extraordinary efforts to accommodate Congress by turning over almost 8,000 documents--including all the documents that relate to the tactics in this investigation and the other flawed investigations that occurred in Arizona during the Bush Administration. The Attorney General also participated in a bicameral meeting in a good faith effort to satisfy the Committee's information requests. While the Attorney General has advised House Republicans that he is willing to work with them in attempting to reach an agreement, the Republican Leadership is instead rushing recklessly to a contempt vote.
Contempt power should be used sparingly, carefully and only in the most egregious situations. The Republican Leadership has articulated no legislative purpose for pursuing this course of action. For these reasons we cannot and will not participate in a vote to hold the Attorney General in contempt. We adamantly oppose this partisan attack and refuse to participate in any vote that would tarnish the image of Congress or of an Attorney General who has done nothing but work tirelessly to protect the rights of the American people. We must reflect upon why we are elected to this body and choose now to stand up for justice.
We call upon all members of Congress to stand with us during a press conference on the Capitol Building steps during this appalling series of votes to discuss our nation's most significant priority--creating jobs. At this critically important time in our nation, we must work as colleagues rather than political enemies.
Translation? 'It's ra-aa-aacism!'
Among the other fairy tales in this letter, I absolutely must correct one charming bit of disinformation.
Fast and Furious did not originate with the Bush Administration.That program was called Wide Receiver and it differed from Fast and Furious in some important ways;it involved only a small number of weapons, the weapons were equipped with tracking devices, no one was killed, the sales were closely monitored and done under surveillance and most importantly, Wide Receiver was done with the knowledge and cooperation of the Mexican government and was curtailed by the Bush Administration when it's deficiencies became evident. Fast and Furious was entirely an Obama Administration product and involved a large number of untracked weapons, over 400 people were murdered including a U.S. border patrol agent, and the Mexican government was not informed about what was going on until the whole operation became embarrassingly public and corpses stated piling up.
Obviously, the Congressional Black Caucus can demonstrate racial solidarity über alles and walk out. As a matter of fact, given the attitudes and performance of many of its members, I rather hope they make it a regular habit at voting time.