- The Washington Times - Sunday, June 15, 2014

The man who led the charge to have Eric H. Holder Jr. held in contempt of Congress is on a new crusade: to impeach the nation’s first black attorney general.

“There’s a total disregard for the rule of law,” Rep. Paul A. Gosar, Arizona Republican, told The Washington Times. “We can’t sit idly by here as we see the Constitution and justice being defamed right and left at the whim of the attorney general.”

Mr. Gosar’s list of what he says are constitutional violations includes the Justice Department giving the Obama administration permission to ignore the requirement of notifying Congress before transferring Guantanamo Bay detainees, Mr. Holder testifying that he was not aware of Justice’s investigation of Fox News reporter James Rosen when he in fact had signed the subpoena, and Justice’s failure to prosecute Internal Revenue Service workers who targeted conservative groups for scrutiny.


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It was only this month, however, after reports surfaced that the Department of Homeland Security was transporting illegal immigrants from Texas and dumping them by the busloads into his home state that he felt more aggressive congressional action should be taken against Mr. Holder.

“We have actually challenged the attorney general that he’s actually now complicit in violating federal code in moving illegal immigrants from one port to another port,” Mr. Gosar said. “The attorney general is the caretaker of the Constitution as well as the rule of law. He is to uphold them all, and he’s choosing not to.”

**FILE** Rep. Paul Gosar, Arizona Republican (Associated Press)
**FILE** Rep. Paul Gosar, Arizona Republican (Associated Press) more >

Last week, Mr. Gosar signed articles of impeachment introduced in November by Rep. Pete Olson, Texas Republican, bringing the tally of signatures to 27. Mr. Gosar and Mr. Olson are trying to gather the 218 signatures needed to bring the articles to the House floor for a vote.


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Mr. Holder and the Justice Department declined requests for comment.

Opponents consider the impeachment effort a self-aggrandizing political stunt.

“I didn’t think that the political attacks against Eric Holder by House Republicans could get any more irresponsible, but they did when some GOP members proposed the most fundamental abuse of the impeachment power,” Rep. Adam B. Schiff, California Democrat, said in a statement when the articles were introduced. “The articles introduced against the attorney general are nakedly political, representing a laundry list of debunked conspiracy theories directed at the attorney general and the administration.”

Mr. Gosar was instrumental in 2012 in gathering congressional signatures to demand that Mr. Holder resign for refusing to comply with a subpoena for documents related to the Operation Fast and Furious gunrunning scandal, in which federal agents allowed guns to be sold to Mexican gangs. That effort led to a House vote of 255-67 to find Mr. Holder in contempt of Congress.

Mr. Holder was spared by President Obama, who claimed executive privilege in withholding the documents. As a result, Mr. Holder declined to enforce the House’s contempt citation against himself.

‘High crimes and misdemeanors’

Constitutional scholars say Mr. Gosar and Mr. Olson have standing.

Article 2 of the Constitution grants Congress the power to impeach “the president, the vice president and all civil officers of the United States,” which includes Cabinet members such as Mr. Holder. Officials can be impeached for “treason, bribery or other high crimes and misdemeanors.” The definition of “high crimes and misdemeanors” is left to Congress.

“High crimes and misdemeanors — both of which are criminal terms — don’t necessarily have to be confined to any particular statute or fit into a traditional definition of a crime,” said former constitutional law professor Herbert Titus. “So there’s a bit of discretion here in terms of the House filing the charge because of the political nature of the process.”

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