Via Sipsey Street Irregulars
WASHINGTON - Today, the House Oversight Committee held a hearing to explore whether Congress has the right to hold the Justice Department in contempt in the so-called ATF "gunwalker" investigation.
Experts indicated the Justice Department should probably be more forthcoming when responding to the document requests from Congress. They said Congress has the right to resort to contempt proceedings, but that the document tug-of-war between the co-equal branches of government is not unusual.
In this case, it's getting heated. Chairman of the House Oversight Committee, Rep. Darrell Issa, R-CA, has said more subpoenas are forthcoming. He accuses the Justice Department of withholding documents after a subpoena he issued to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF); which is under the Justice Department's jurisdiction.
Morton Rosenberg, a specialist in American public law, formerly with the Congressional Research Service, told Congress, "the Department of Justice has the power to string out your investigation, refuse to obey it, and then when it's time for contempt...say all you can do is bring a civil action which will extend and delay your constitutional ability to enforce your" legislative powers.