The Congressional Black Caucus plotted to walk out of Thursday’s contempt of Congress vote regarding Attorney General Eric Holder’s stonewalling regarding legitimate oversight of the deadly Fast and Furious fiasco, and did, taking most of the other Democrats along. In so doing, the CBC, as if there was any doubt, unequivocally demonstrated its virulent racial bias, which interferes with its ability to discharge its duties in a fair, honest and legitimate matter.
The CBC had circulated a letter explaining its supposed rationale, which oddly manages never to mention that Eric Holder is African American. Yet it is unimaginable that the Congressional Black Caucus would stage a walk-out if Holder was the white Attorney General appointed by a white President. This is politics, but it is also dishonesty and naked tribalism. It should not be, pardon the expression, whitewashed, or allowed to proceed without calling it what it is—racial bias in the halls of Congress, where none belongs.
Here is the offensive and disingenuous letter being circulated by the CBC—with some commentary by me in brackets:
“We write to urge you to stand with us in the pursuit of justice for the Attorney General of the United States of America, Eric H. Holder. In its history, the United States House of Representatives has never held a United States Attorney General, or any other Cabinet official, in contempt. [ So what? How often have Attorney Generals lied to Congress…and retracted the lies once they became unsustainable? Is the CBC arguing that because other lying AG’s weren’t called to account, that should be the accepted practice? Well, no. What it is really suggesting is that Holder is being treated differently because he is black. Any Attorney General who lies to Congress should be held in contempt, if not impeached. There is no reason why Holder should get away with such conduct because other Congresses in other times abdicated their responsibilities to truth and good government.]
“Instead of focusing on job creation and other critical issues before this Congress, we have been asked to engage in a political stunt on the floor of the United States House of Representatives. Our constituents elected us to do real work, not to engage in meaningless partisan activity. [ Jay Carney also flogged this embarrassing Administration talking point lifted from the playbook of every scandal-besieged Administration from Nixon to Clinton. I know I’ve already written this, but how insulting to the intelligence of the American people, and how dishonest. Congress is not permitted to abdicate a core duty like making sure the nation’s law enforcement agency doesn’t break laws, get people killed, lie about it and hold nobody accountable because there are pressing employment issues, any more than I should let my son rob the 7-11 because I need to mow the lawn. This “argument” really shows desperation as well as contempt, not for Congress, but for the public.]
“Over the past 15 months, Attorney General Eric Holder and the Department of Justice have cooperated with the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform’s requests for information on “Fast and Furious”, [This is a lie. Holder has misled Congress, he has refused to turn over requested documents—the number he has turned over doesn’t matter—and one of his staff attorneys has invoked the Fifth Amendment against self-incrimination to avoid testifying. Who can call this “cooperation”?] an unfortunate operation that began under the Bush Administration and, in fact, was terminated by Attorney General Holder. [ THIS is a lie. The Bush version of the so-called gun-walking plan was, among other differences, cleared with the Mexican government, suspended in the Bush Administration, and unlike Fast and Furious, was properly managed, and didn’t get anyone killed.] The Department has made extraordinary efforts to accommodate Congress by turning over almost 8,000 documents–including all the documents that relate to the tactics in this investigation and the other flawed investigations that occurred in Arizona during the Bush Administration. [Since Holder made two material misrepresentations to Congress that suggested the possibility a cover-up within the Justice Department, Congress is also asking for records that relate to the cover-up, if there is one. The CBC’s dishonest argument would have held that the Watergate Senate investigation should have stopped with the burglary]. The Attorney General also participated in a bicameral meeting in a good faith effort to satisfy the Committee’s information requests. [Again, so what? He didn’t agree to turn over what was requested.]
“While the Attorney General has advised House Republicans that he is willing to work with them in attempting to reach an agreement, the Republican Leadership is instead rushing recklessly to a contempt vote. Contempt power should be used sparingly, carefully and only in the most egregious situations. [Fine! Vote against it, if that’s what you think.] The Republican Leadership has articulated no legislative purpose for pursuing this course of action. [Obfuscation. Not all Congressional purposes are legislative, as the CBC well knows. Other duties of Congress relate to investigation and oversight.] For these reasons we cannot and will not participate in a vote to hold the Attorney General in contempt. We adamantly oppose this partisan attack and refuse to participate in any vote that would tarnish the image of Congress or of an Attorney General who has done nothing but work tirelessly to protect the rights of the American people. We must reflect upon why we are elected to this body and choose now to stand up for justice.”
“We call upon all members of Congress to stand with us during a press conference on the Capitol Building steps during this appalling series of votes to discuss our nation’s most significant priority–creating jobs. At this critically important time in our nation, we must work as colleagues rather than political enemies.“
Sadly, it may be too much to expect bi-partisan vigor in an effort to get to the bottom of epic incompetence in the Justice Department. But partisanship is one thing, and racial bias is another. Holder’s race is irrelevant, and since it’s irrelevant, the planned walk-out by the Black Caucus tarnishes Congress far more than any contempt vote could. No elected official should support or defend an office holder because of his or her race. And to suggest that Congressional action against an Attorney General who has conducted himself like Holder is based on race is nothing less than slander.
Source: National Journal
Graphic: US Taxpayer
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