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DOJ will not prosecute AG Holder for contempt of Congress

The Department of Justice (DOJ) [official website] on Saturday announced that it will not prosecute Attorney General Eric Holder [official profile] after the House of Representatives [official website] voted to hold him in contempt of Congress [JURIST report]. The House of Representatives found Holder in contempt [H. Res. 711 materials] for failing to fully comply with subpoenas related to "Operation Fast and Furious" where tracked guns were permitted to travel from Arizona to Mexico in an attempt to stop weapons trafficking from higher-up dealers. President Obama asserted executive privilege on the subpoenaed documents. In a statement made aboard Air Force One, White House press secretary Jim Carney stated, “It is an established principle, dating back to the administration of President Ronald Reagan, that the Justice Department does not pursue prosecution in a contempt case when the president has asserted executive privilege. The assertion of executive privilege makes the contempt matter moot, if you will.”

Holder responded [press release] to the vote stating, "Today's vote is the regrettable culmination of what became a misguided—and politically motivated—investigation during an election year," and stated he would continue to focus on the government's job of protecting the American people. Republican Representative Darrell Issa [official website] initiated the contempt action as the leader of the House investigation. Last week, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee [official website] voted [press release] to find Holder in contempt for failing to provide the information needed in their investigation. The DOJ prepared a report [PDF] for the House committee last July which discussed the effect of the admittedly failed operation in Mexico. The House has been investigating Operation Fast and Furious [investigation website] since April 2011.

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