MOSCOW, November 14 (RAPSI, Ingrid Burke) - Republican US lawmakers plan to file articles of impeachment against US Attorney General Eric Holder Thursday, Reuters reported Wednesday.
The articles were reportedly drafted by House Representative Pete Olson [R-Tx.], who issued a statement to Reuters saying that since the House voted to hold Holder in contempt in 2012, the “pattern of disregard for the rule of law and refusal to be forthright has only continued.”
In August of this year, Olson issued a statement on his official website calling for Holder’s impeachment. At the time, he said: "The House voted to hold Mr. Holder in contempt of Congress last summer, before he committed perjury, and yet he continues to lie and thwart Congressional inquiries to provide the truth to the American people. The Attorney General has failed to ensure that the laws are faithfully executed and has failed to fulfill his oath of office. Since Holder won't resign, he must be impeached. I urge my colleagues to join me in calling for impeachment proceedings as soon as we return to Washington," as quoted in the statement.
The August statement focused specifically on three central claims: the US Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Internal Revenue Service (IRS) political targeting scandal, the scandal surrounding the DOJ’s monitoring of a Fox News reporter, and the botched Operation Fast and Furious. Reuters reported Wednesday that the articles of impeachment set to be introduced Thursday revolve around those issues, as well as Holder’s decisions to abstain from enforcing laws on same-sex marriage.
The IRS scandal emerged when the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) released a report in May establishing its finding that the IRS had used “inappropriate criteria that identified for review Tea Party and other organizations applying for tax-exempt status based upon their names or policy positions instead of indications of potential political campaign intervention.”
According to the report, ineffective management had let do the development of inappropriate criteria that remained in place for upwards of 18 months. These criteria significantly delayed the processing of certain applications, and fostered the issuance of unnecessary information requests.
According to the report, organizations targeted included those whose names included “Tea Party,” “9/12 Project,” or “Patriots.” A variety of policy positions were included among the IRS’ list of criteria as well, including: issues involving government spending, debt, and taxes; aims to “make America a better place to live in,” and statements critical of how the US is being run. Notably, the names are all associated with conservative political movements.
In reference to the scandal, Olson’s August statement asserted: “Holder's Justice Department has failed to prosecute any [IRS] officials for targeting Tea Party and conservative groups for extra scrutiny when seeking tax-exempt status.”
Fox News reported in May that its own James Rosen had been accused in a US Department of Justice (DOJ) affidavit of having acted as a “co-conspirator” in connection with his alleged role in having published sensitive information. The news agency cited court documents in asserting that the DOJ had obtained a wealth of information on Rosen, including his visits to the State Department and a search warrant for his personal emails.
The Washington Post reported the story alongside an affidavit claiming that there is reason to believe that the reporter’s communications contain “evidence, fruits and instrumentalities of criminal violations of” the federal law on unauthorized disclosures of national defense information, and then takes it a step further by asserting: “… there is probable cause to believe that the Reporter has committed or is committing a violation of section 793(d), as an aider and abettor and/or co-conspirator, to which the materials relate.”
In connection with the Fox News reporter scandal, the August statement asserted: “Holder signed off on the Department of Justice’s (DOJ)wide-ranging search warrant for private emails and communications surveillance of Fox News reporter James Rosen and then lied to Congress about it.”
Operation Fast and Furious was a federal program aimed at strategically selling guns - mostly AK-47s - to individuals suspected of involvement with notoriously violent Mexican drug cartels. According to a statement released in September 2012 by US advocacy group the National Rifle Association, “The guns would only be traced after they were recovered by unwitting Mexican authorities, often after being used in violent crimes.” Notably, US Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was killed in the US by a gun sold through the botched operation.
With regard to Operation Fast and Furious, the August statement claimed: “Holder failed to turn over documents related to Operation Fast and Furious, the botched “gunwalking” operation that allowed thousands of guns to be smuggled from the U.S. to drug cartels in Mexico. The guns were used to kill hundreds in Mexico and at least one of them was used to kill U.S. Border Patrol agent, Brian Terry. Holder also misled Congress about how much he knew about Fast and Furious and when he learned it.”