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(Al Hartmann | Tribune file photo) Rep. Jim Matheson, D-Utah
Matheson: Holder should be held in contempt

First Published Jun 26 2012 02:42 pm • Last Updated Sep 11 2012 11:39 pm

Washington • Rep. Jim Matheson will vote to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress for withholding documents pertaining to a failed Justice Department sting that let guns get into the hands of drug runners.

Matheson, D-Utah, announced his position Tuesday, joining House Republicans, such as Utah Reps. Rob Bishop and Jason Chaffetz, who have railed against Holder’s reaction to the congressional probe into the Justice Department’s "Fast and Furious" operation. One of the lost guns was later used in the murder of U.S. Border Patrol agent Brian Terry.

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"It just compounds the tragedy when both sides play politics instead of releasing the facts. The Terry family, the public and Congress deserve answers," Matheson said. "Sadly, it seems that it will take holding the attorney general in contempt to communicate that evasiveness is unacceptable."

Most Democrats have stood behind Holder as has President Barack Obama who invoked his "executive privilege" to keep certain documents from House Republican investigators.

Holder’s defenders argue the House has received plenty of information about the failed program that ended in 2011 — more than 7,000 pages — and they consider the contempt vote a political move to embarrass the Obama administration.

Chaffetz, a member of the Government Oversight and Reform Committee, has been an integral part of the investigation and he believes Holder has lied to the committee about what he knew about Fast and Furious and when he learned about it.

mcanham@sltrib.com




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