(CBS News) — House Republicans investigating the Fast and Furious scandal plan to pursue a contempt citation against Attorney General Eric Holder, senior congressional aides told CBS News.
The resolution will accuse Holder and his Justice Department of obstructing the congressional probe into the allegations that the government let thousands of weapons fall into the hands of Mexican drug cartels.
The citation would attempt to force Holder to turn over tens of thousands of pages of documents related to the probe, which has entered its second year.
For months, congressional Republicans probing ATF’s Fast and Furious “Gunwalker” scandal – led by California Republican Rep. Darrell Issa, have been investigating a contempt citation. They’ve worked quietly behind the scenes to build support among fellow Republicans, since it could ultimately face a full House vote.
CBS News has confirmed that House Speaker John Boehner, an Ohio Republican, was provided a 48-page long draft by Issa, who heads the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.
“While there are very legitimate arguments to be made in favor of such an action, no decision has been made to move forward with one by the Speaker or by House Republican leaders,” a Republican leadership aide told CBS News.
Congressional staffers involved in the discussions say leadership approval is not needed for the Oversight panel to proceed. However, Boehner would have to okay any vote taken by the full House of Representatives.
A Justice Department official told CBS News it has been complying with Congress’ investigation, doing twice-per-month production of documents since last year, providing more than 7,300 pages of documents. The official says the Attorney General has testified on Fast and Furious or gunwalking “no less than seven times and…provided more than a dozen officials for hearings, briefings and interviews.”
The top Democrat on the panel slammed Issa’s move as part of “an election-year witch hunt against the Obama administration.”