Eric Holder in the Hot Seat as Lawmakers Probe Scandals


Eric Holder comes to Capitol Hill on Wednesday for a show of fireworks that could be unlike any seen in this Congress so far.

And if he doesn’t offer the House Judiciary Committee more details on the scandals piling up at the White House’s doorstep than Jay Carney did on Tuesday, the Obama administration is in for another full news cycle of criticism from not only their adversaries on the right but their Democratic allies as well.

It’s a full committee hearing where members of the panel’s Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security and Investigations Subcommittee will lead the questioning. Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte has outlined an agenda that covers the AP phone-records grab by the Justice Department, the IRS’s targeting of conservative groups, agencies’ failure to share information that might have prevented the Boston bombings, and, as if that were not enough, allegedly lavish spending at DOJ under Holder’s watch.

“This administration is having more ethical lapses and what seems to fall under the heading of scandal than anything I've seen in a long time,” said Rep. Trent Franks, R-Ariz., a member of House Judiciary.

Holder tried to get out in front of the hearing, at least on the IRS, announcing that DOJ was opening a criminal inquiry. But on the AP phone records, so far, all the attorney general has offered is that he recused himself from that case.

“Here's what I'd like to see from the representatives of this administration, the cabinet members: Come to a hearing once with the intention of informing the committee,” said Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa., who also sits on Judiciary. “His demeanor I think will be to stall and to weather the ordeal."

As congressional Republicans aim to fold three issues – IRS, AP phone records, and Benghazi – together, Democrats are trying to treat them separately. But cracks in the caucus’ unity on this approach already are starting to appear. (Even Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said he had trouble defending the Justice Department’s decision to take AP’s phone records.

As Shane Goldmacher reports, how aggressively Democrats on House Judiciary go after Holder will be a strong indicator of whether that side’s lawmakers will continue to toe a party line that is still, for now, defined by the White House.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
Close [ x ] More from GovExec

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by G Suite

    Cross-Agency Teamwork, Anytime and Anywhere

    Dan McCrae, director of IT service delivery division, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

  • Federal IT Applications: Assessing Government's Core Drivers

    In order to better understand the current state of external and internal-facing agency workplace applications, Government Business Council (GBC) and Riverbed undertook an in-depth research study of federal employees. Overall, survey findings indicate that federal IT applications still face a gamut of challenges with regard to quality, reliability, and performance management.

  • PIV- I And Multifactor Authentication: The Best Defense for Federal Government Contractors

    This white paper explores NIST SP 800-171 and why compliance is critical to federal government contractors, especially those that work with the Department of Defense, as well as how leveraging PIV-I credentialing with multifactor authentication can be used as a defense against cyberattacks

  • Toward A More Innovative Government

    This research study aims to understand how state and local leaders regard their agency’s innovation efforts and what they are doing to overcome the challenges they face in successfully implementing these efforts.

  • From Volume to Value: UK’s NHS Digital Provides U.S. Healthcare Agencies A Roadmap For Value-Based Payment Models

    The U.S. healthcare industry is rapidly moving away from traditional fee-for-service models and towards value-based purchasing that reimburses physicians for quality of care in place of frequency of care.

  • GBC Flash Poll: Is Your Agency Safe?

    Federal leaders weigh in on the state of information security


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.