House Judiciary Chairman: Holder Hearing About Lack of Accountability

House Judiciary Chairman: Holder Hearing About Lack of Accountability

House Judiciary Committee chairman Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) told Breitbart News that his committee’s Department of Justice oversight hearing on Wednesday will focus on the lack of accountability throughout President Barack Obama’s administration and the Department of Justice. Holder is testifying at the hearing, beginning at 1 p.m. ET on Wednesday.

 “The one unifying theme that I think should be the subject of questions tomorrow is: ‘What has been done in the area of holding people who make these decisions accountable?’ ” Goodlatte said in a phone interview on Tuesday evening.

“It’s simply a matter of people higher up in the administration including the Attorney General and others in his Department and in other Departments that are investigated by the Justice Department saying ‘oh it was a lower level person who made that decision and I didn’t have anything to do with it. No one in a policy making position had anything to do with it.’ Then the question becomes so what have you done or are you doing to hold people accountable? Because, I find, when that’s not correct, when the people that are being held accountable say ‘well, I got orders from higher up’ then they start to say ‘well if I’m going to take a fall for this, I’m going to make sure the people know who else was involved in it.'”

Goodlatte added, “Accountability, I think, is something that has been lacking in many respects in many of these investigations thus far and that certainly applies to Fast and Furious, it certainly applies to Benghazi, and it may well apply to some of these more newly opened investigations and that is a place where I think the Attorney General needs to step up and if he doesn’t, he won’t be well thought of in terms of understanding what the public’s concerns are with each of these issues.”

The Judiciary Chairman went on to say that a wide range of topics will come up at the hearing, including the AP phone scandal, the IRS conservative and Tea Party targeting scandal, the Boston Marathon terrorist attacks, Assistant Attorney General for the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division Tom Perez’s nomination to be Obama’s next Labor Secretary, Benghazi and wasteful spending at the DOJ.

“There is so many things going on that it is hard to pinpoint one,” Goodlatte said when asked what to expect at the hearing. “This is an oversight hearing that we conduct on a regular basis, usually once a year. So it just happens that it’s occurring two days after the announcement of the truth, or at least some of the truth that we know, about the AP investigation and the subpoena and the warrant to obtain telephone toll information regarding 20 reporters over a two-month period of time. That’s a pretty broad subpoena. So, we have a lot questions about that and that certainly will be one thing.”

On the Boston terror attacks, Goodlatte said “we have questions regarding both the lead-up to that and the investigation of that, and the issues related to the questioning of the surviving terrorist.”

For examples of what he called “profligate spending,” Goodlatte noted that before sequestration kicked in Holder had “rather dramatically warned” it would “force the Department to make cuts that threaten the safety of all Americans.” 

“Yet, they found the funds to buy a prison for $170,000,000 and hold $10,000 pizza parties and a lot of other expenses that would go a long way to making sure that law enforcement has the resources they need if you eliminated some of these very questionable items,” Goodlatte said. “That’s certainly something that we want to ask some questions about as well.” 

On Perez’s nomination, Goodlatte said members of his committee “have really serious questions about how he ran the Civil Rights Division in the Department as well as the deal that he was at the center of with regard to the City of Saint Paul, Minnesota, agreeing to drop an appeal to the Supreme Court and then a couple of whistleblower cases against the city get dropped. That’s not in my opinion the way you administer justice.”

Goodlatte also said that Holder is a part of the IRS scandal and that his committee has jurisdiction over some of the matters involved as well, especially since the FBI and DOJ are now investigating to see if there was any criminal activity that took place.

“It is the jurisdiction of the Judiciary Committee to ask questions about what any agency of the government is doing in snooping into what would be viewed by most people as constitutional rights that citizens have, asking questions like ‘what books do they read’ and that kind of thing,” Goodlatte said. “It’s pretty clear that this was not simply a matter of making sure that the tax laws were being complied with. It goes way beyond that. Secondly, because of the apparent abuse and the outrage expressed by the president yesterday, the FBI has now launched an investigation. So, their investigation is the subject of the jurisdiction of the Judiciary Committee’s oversight responsibilities. So, that is another issue that will definitely be on the table and I’m sure questions will be asked about that tomorrow as well.”