Eric Holder in the Hot Seat as Lawmakers Probe Scandals

AP

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.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

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

  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

    Download
  • The Big Data Campaign Trail

    With everyone so focused on security following recent breaches at federal, state and local government and education institutions, there has been little emphasis on the need for better operations. This report breaks down some of the biggest operational challenges in IT management and provides insight into how agencies and leaders can successfully solve some of the biggest lingering government IT issues.

    Download
  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

    Download
  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.

    Download
  • Ongoing Efforts in Veterans Health Care Modernization

    This report discusses the current state of veterans health care

    Download

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