Eric Holder (Getty Images)
By David Jackson, USA TODAY
(USA TODAY) - The Republican-run House went to court today, seeking to force Attorney General Eric Holder to release documents related to the botched "Fast and Furious" gun-tracking operation.
"By stonewalling Congress and ignoring a contempt order, the Justice Department has left the House no choice but to take legal action," said House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio.
President Obama, at Holder's request, invoked executive privilege in June over the documents, saying Congress is not entitled to internal administration deliberations.
The GOP House, largely along party lines, voted days later to hold Holder in contempt of Congress.
The Justice Department declined to pursue criminal contempt charges, but the House also voted to authorize a civil lawsuit.
Holder has described the House's actions as pure politics in an election year.
The "Fast and Furious" operation is controversial because investigators lost track of some guns they were hoping to trace to drug cartels in Mexico; some of those weapons wound up at the site of the shooting death of U.S. Border Patrol agent Brian Terry.
"Attorney General Holder has gone to extraordinary lengths to block access to subpoenaed documents and deny the efforts of the Terry family to get the truth," Boehner said.
From the Associated Press:
The Republican-run House has asked a federal court to enforce a subpoena against Attorney General Eric Holder. The subpoena demands that Holder produce records related to a bungled gun-tracking operation known as Operation Fast and Furious.
The failure of Holder and House Republicans to work out a deal on the documents led to a vote in June that held the attorney general in contempt of Congress. ...
Republicans cited Holder's refusal to hand over documents that could explain why the Obama administration initially denied that the gun-walking tactic was used.