After Law Enforcement Urge Congress To Abandon Anti-Holder Witchhunt, GOP Freshmen Grab Their Pitchforks

The House GOP Freshman Caucus

House Oversight Chair Darrell Issa’s (R-CA) claim that Attorney General Eric Holder should be held in contempt for declining to turn over records of ongoing criminal investigations to Issa’s committee has not been received well by people who actually know something about law enforcement. Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey warned that Issa’s crusade against Holder has “distracted the Department of Justice in its efforts to assist state and local law enforcement — particularly in the area of violent crime prevention and suppression,” and a group of senior African-American law enforcement officials similarly warned that Issa’s efforts are “an impediment to the vigorous enforcement of violence and crime.”

Indeed, Issa’s overreach against Holder extended so far that even the House Republican Leadership is trying to reign him in. Nevertheless, a core group of House freshmen are now trying to pressure them to ignore the wishes of law enforcement:

In a letter to Speaker John Boehner (Ohio), Majority Leader Eric Cantor (Va.) and Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (Calif.); Reps. Sandy Adams (Fla.), Ben Quayle (Ariz.), Tim Griffin (Ark.), Dennis Ross (Fla.), Tom Marino (Pa.) and Trey Gowdy (S.C.) argued that “the House of Representatives has seen its proper oversight function thwarted and obstructed. It’s time for the House to formally recognize the obvious — that Attorney General Holder has not and will not cooperate with the legitimate investigation launched by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and is therefore in contempt of Congress.”

For weeks, Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Darrell Issa (Calif.) has unsuccessfully lobbied leadership to allow contempt proceedings to begin against Holder.

Last week, even Eric Cantor seemed to understand that Issa’s crusade went too far. Cantor and his fellow members of the House leadership will now have to decide whether to abandon that good sense, ignore the wishes of law enforcement, and pick up his own pitchfork alongside the House freshmen.