Judicial Watch Sues for Records on Holder and Fast and Furious

Holder was cited for contempt by the House of Representatives

Attorney General Eric Holder / AP
• September 17, 2013 5:20 pm


A conservative watchdog group is suing the Justice Department to get records surrounding Attorney General Eric Holder’s contempt citation for his role in the "Fast and Furious" scandal.

"Fast and Furious" was a gun-tracking operation led by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco,  Firearms and Explosives that resulted in roughly 2,000 firearms being smuggled across the U.S.-Mexican border, where they were lost and fell into the hands of drug cartels.

Guns from the failed operation were later recovered at the murder scene of a U.S. Border Patrol agent, as well as other crime scenes across Mexico.

Judicial Watch, a legal nonprofit organization, announced Tuesday it has filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit to obtain records from the Justice Department regarding the contempt citation issued to Holder last year over his alleged role in the Fast and Furious scandal.

"Eric Holder is using his legal battle with Congress to keep the American people from knowing the full truth about the Obama administration’s Fast and Furious killings and lies," said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. "And yet, Eric Holder has been dragging out the ‘settlement’ talks to the point where Congress has called them a ‘waste of everyone’s time.’ The Obama gang would rather stall for time than defend the Obama’s administration secretive claims of executive privilege on Fast and Furious in court."

The GOP led House Oversight Committee issued a contempt citation against Holder last year for allegedly stonewalling the committee in its investigation of Operation Fast and Furious.

After the White House claimed executive privilege over documents being sought by the oversight committee and its chairman Rep. Darrell Issa (R., Calif.), the House of Representatives voted to hold Holder in contempt in June 2012.

The oversight committee filed a lawsuit against Holder that August to pry more documents from the Justice Department. In March 2013, a judge ordered the Justice Department and oversight committee to enter mediation, which is still ongoing.

The Justice Department denied Judicial Watch’s FOIA request for documents related to the contempt citations in May, citing, "among other things, court-imposed non-disclosure requirements."

A subsequent appeal by Judicial Watch was denied, and the group filed suit on Sep. 5.

Published under: Eric Holder, Obama Administration