A House committee filed a civil suit Monday seeking to override President Barack Obama’s first invocation of executive privilege and force the Justice Department to turn over documents related to a bungled gun-trafficking operation called Fast and Furious.
The filing was expected after the House voted in June to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress over the Justice Department’s refusal to release certain documents. The agency has turned over more than 7,000 pages related to Fast and Furious, but the White House cited executive privilege in rejecting requests for other documents that mostly concern how Justice leaders reacted when they learned of Fast and Furious.
Rep. Darrell Issa (R., Calif.), who as chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform has led the congressional investigation of Fast and Furious, said the president exceeded his authority.
“Waiting nearly eight months after the subpoena had been issued to assert a meritless claim of privilege, the president’s decision was a calculated political maneuver designed to stop the release of documents until after November’s election,” Mr. Issa said in a news release.