GOP Lawmakers Release Holder Articles of Impeachment

Attorney General Eric Holder on Capitol Hill earlier this year. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)
Attorney General Eric Holder on Capitol Hill earlier this year. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)
Posted November 13, 2013 at 4:13pm

A rump group of House Republicans are tired of waiting for answers from Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. — they want him impeached and will formally introduce their charges Thursday.

As Roll Call previously reported, a small group of GOP lawmakers have been drafting articles of impeachment for Holder over a string of controversies, including a Department of Justice refusal to turn over documents related to Operation Fast and Furious, a refusal to uphold certain laws — namely the Defense of Marriage Act, the Controlled Substances Act and the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986 — and a refusal to prosecute IRS officials who accessed tax records of political donors and candidates without authorization. The articles of impeachment also charge that Holder provided false testimony to Congress — a “clear violation” of law.

Texas Republican Pete Olson, who is leading the charge behind the Holder articles of impeachment, said this wasn’t a decision he took lightly.

“Since the House voted in 2012 to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt, the pattern of disregard for the rule of law and refusal to be forthright has continued,” Olson said in a statement to CQ Roll Call. “The American people deserve answers and accountability. If the Attorney General refuses to provide answers, then Congress must take action.”

Olson told CQ Roll Call that he would be dropping the articles of impeachment Thursday. On Wednesday, he released a five-page white paper explaining the four articles of impeachment against Holder.

Article I of the impeachment proceedings claims that Holder “engaged in a pattern of conduct incompatible with the trust and confidence placed in him” by refusing to comply with a subpoena issued by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee for documents related to “a legitimate congressional investigation into Operation Fast and Furious by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms that put thousands of illegally-purchased weapons into the hands of cartel leaders, ultimately resulting in the death of U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry on December 14, 2010.”

“The Justice Department deliberately withheld documents, preventing the Committee from performing its constitutional duty to conduct oversight of the Executive Branch,” the white paper said, noting that any person who “willfully makes default” of a congressional subpoena is in violation of federal law.

President Barack Obama exercised executive privilege over those documents, but that does not satisfy the group.

“Despite the President’s dubious claim of executive privilege, Attorney General Holder violated federal law by failing to turn over lawfully subpoenaed documents requested by Congress,” the section-by-section analysis of the impeachment proceedings claims.

Article II of the proceedings charges that Holder violated his oath of office by refusing to enforce certain laws that the Obama administration, for various reasons, decided not to enforce, including the Defense of Marriage Act, which the administration deemed unconstitutional.

“If the Administration wants to change the law, it should ask Congress to amend it. Only the Supreme Court can deem laws unconstitutional,” the white paper said.

Article III also charges that Holder violated his oath of office, this time by “refusing to prosecute individuals involved in the Internal Revenue Service scandal of unauthorized disclosure of tax records belonging to political donors.”

Finally, Article IV claims Holder “provided false testimony to the House Judiciary Committee” regarding the potential prosecution of a member of the news media, Fox News correspondent James Rosen, using the Espionage Act.

“Attorney General Holder knew that the Justice Department was investigating James Rosen as a co-conspirator in alleged violations of the Espionage Act as early as June 2009. Under the Privacy Protection Act, journalists cannot be investigated in order to obtain information about a third party. The fact that there was a search warrant carried out on James Rosen means that the Justice Department either intended to prosecute him, or the Justice Department clearly violated the Privacy Protection Act,” the white paper said.

Olson is joined by 10 other Republicans — five of whom are also from Texas — in co-sponsoring the articles of impeachment:

Rep. Phil Roe of Tennessee

Rep. Ted Yoho of Florida

Rep. Lynn Westmoreland of Georgia

Rep. Larry Bucshon of Indiana

Rep. Blake Farenthold of Texas

Rep. Randy Weber of Texas

Rep. Roger Williams of Texas

Rep. Bill Flores of Texas

Rep. Louie Gohmert of Texas

Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota

Emma Dumain contributed to this report.