Oppose Attorney General Eric Holder Contempt Citation

Media 06.27.12

Recipient: U.S. House of Representatives

Dear Representative,

On behalf of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, a coalition charged by its diverse membership of more than 210 national organizations to promote and protect the civil and human rights of all persons in the United States, the undersigned organizations urge you to oppose the contempt citation being filed against Attorney General Eric Holder. In a highly partisan move, Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) and majority members of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform voted to cite General Holder in contempt of Congress. Today, Speaker Boehner scheduled a floor vote on the citation. We are deeply troubled by the prospect of the attorney general being cited for contempt of Congress, and believe that such an action is unwarranted. We strongly urge you to oppose this citation.

While we agree that an investigation into the “Fast and Furious” program is a legitimate action of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, the proceedings against General Holder are nothing more than election-year attempts to discredit the attorney general and the entire administration for political gain.  

The harsh attacks and political gamesmanship are intended to divert the attention of the attorney general from his responsibilities in enforcing national laws, including those protecting civil rights, voting rights, and disability rights. This is deeply troubling and particularly disturbing in light of the exemplary job General Holder has done in enforcing the nation’s civil rights laws.

The attorney general has demonstrated an incredible commitment to defending our nation’s laws and protecting the rights of all Americans by championing the right to vote, defending the Affordable Care Act, protecting homeowners from predatory lending, defending the federal government from state overreach on immigration laws, backing the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, and reducing the disparity between crack and powder cocaine sentencing.

General Holder has admitted to problems and flaws in the program, which was begun under President George W. Bush.  He has put a stop to the tactic, called for an independent investigation, and instituted reforms and personnel changes to ensure this doesn’t happen again. And yet Chairman Issa continues to create a partisan circus rather than exercising his authority for oversight and reform.

Despite this outrageous behavior and political grandstanding, the attorney general and the Department of Justice have bent over backwards to comply with ever changing requests from Chairman Issa. They have submitted almost 8000 pages of documents to aid Congress in its investigation, made senior department staff available, and testified repeatedly before Congress.  In addition, the attorney general made an extraordinary offer to Chairman Issa to turn over the remaining documents requested for the investigation, but this offer was flatly rejected.

To put it simply, the attempt to cite General Holder for contempt is a rush to judgment intended to create a stain on the office of the attorney general. The constituencies that we represent are eager to see our leaders focus on job creation, the continued reinvigoration of our economy, the protection of our civil rights, and the rooting out of waste, fraud and abuse. We urge you to oppose this course of action and reject the call to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress. Thank you for your consideration. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Senior Counsel Lisa Bornstein at (202) 263-2856 or Policy Associate Sakira Cook at (202) 263-2894.



African American Ministers in Action


The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee

American Federation of Teachers, AFL-CIO

Asian American Justice Center, member of Asian American Center for Advancing Justice

Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law


Human Rights Campaign

Japanese American Citizens League

Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights


National Association of Human Rights Workers

National Association of Social Workers

National Bar Association

National Center for Transgender Equality

National Council on Independent Living

National Fair Housing Alliance

National Immigration Law Center

National Partnership for Women & Families

National Urban League

People For the American Way

Women Employed

Women in Federal Law Enforcement Foundation