U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder should be commended for not buckling under the pressure House of Representative Republicans have been placing on him to step down as the nation's top law enforcement officer.
Members of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, led by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), have pursued an 18-month investigation into the government's role in a gun-trafficking operation known as Operation "Fast and Furious" that went terribly wrong after a U.S. Border Patrol officer died from a weapon believed to have been connected to the botched operation.
Lawmakers have become increasingly frustrated with Holder's testimony about the operation and are now charging White House officials for being involved in a cover-up. President Obama's decision to use executive privilege over the release of the documents has taken some pressure off Holder but an infuriated committee will vote this week after deciding whether to hold Holder, the nation's first African-American U.S. Attorney General, in contempt of Congress for not providing information to the committee. Yet, committee members have repeatedly acknowledged that they have no proof that the administration is not being truthful.
Civil rights leaders have called this a political attack against Holder. The NAACP, National Urban League, the Asian American Justice Center, and the League of United Latin American Citizens are among the organizations that believe this is an intentional move to distract the Justice Department from addressing more crucial issues including voting rights, predatory lending and the immigration laws.
D.C. Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton has labeled the committee's action a "witch hunt" and that the focus should be on the government's inability to control the illegal trafficking of guns, thanks to the efforts of the extremely influential gun lobby.
We know that the issue at hand is eliminating the violence in Mexico by disarming the drug cartel and eliminating access to illegal weapons. But the committee has gotten distracted and is focusing its attention on how to challenge President Obama. Making an example out of Holder isn't the way these politicians will want to be remembered on Election Day.