Coming soon to the House of Representatives: an attempt to impeach Attorney General Eric Holder. The effort, from a small group of conservative House Republicans, will likely be introduced to the House on Thursday. So, why should Holder be impeached? According to those behind the attempt, the answer is a whole bunch of stuff.
The group of 11 House Republicans who drafted and plan to introduce four articles of impeachment against Holder include Rep. Pete Olson, Rep. Michele Bachmann, Rep. Louie Gohmert, and Rep. Ted Yoho. Olson has been talking about impeaching Holder for awhile now. On Wednesday, he told reporters that "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 only continued."
Here are the four reasons Olson and his crew cite for trying to impeach Holder. First, there's "Operation Fast and Furious," the subject of a marathon subpoena battle between the House and the Attorney General's office. In 2012, the House even voted to hold Holder in contempt over the tiff. While the White House has provided about 7,000 requested documents to a House investigation into the botched gun trafficking investigation, the House Oversight Committee wanted 1,500 more.
Second, conservatives are angry about the Department of Justice's decision to stop enforcing a handful of laws on the books. That includes the Defense of Marriage Act, a decision that left House Republicans to defend the federal government themselves against lawsuits challenging federal laws denying benefits to same-sex, married couples. That is, until the Defense of Marriage Act's exclusions were struck down by the Supreme Court earlier this year. The articles also mention the the Controlled Substances Act, and the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986.
Third, there's the IRS scandal. Even though the story has lost some of its teeth with time, conservatives would like to see Holder impeached because no one has been prosecuted. (The former director for the department's agency on tax exempt organizations has since resigned, and the IRS has said that they've initiated a number of oversight reforms since the scandal broke).
Last, there's the troubling case of Fox News correspondent James Rosen. The Department of Justice went to great lengths, including subpoenaing the journalist's personal email, to try and figure out how he got information from a CIA analysis issued only hours before his report. The FBI argued that Rosen should face charges for reporting on classified information.The argument against Holder specifically is an allegation that he provided misleading testimony on whether he knew of the investigation into Rosen or not.
So is this going to happen for the tiny group of House conservatives who really want Holder out? Well, It's still not clear whether Speaker John Boehner will endorse the plan and let it move forward through the House. For the record, the 1876 House impeachment of Secretary of War William Belknap was the last time a cabinet member was successfully impeached by the House. The Senate eventually acquitted him, but only after he resigned from office.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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