Embattled Attorney General Eric Holder, already held in contempt by congress, is the subject of a federal lawsuit filed Monday by House Republicans.
So far, President Obama has stood by his old friend, Holder, the country's top law enforcement official, who was appointed by Obama. Holder is implicated in a failed gun-smuggling operation that led to the death of a U.S. border patrol agent and an unspecified number of Mexicans.
Holder has refused to hand over documents related to the botched Fast-and Furious operation that smuggled hundreds of guns across the U.S. border into Mexico, ostensively to track members of Mexican Cartels.
The suit will likely focus national debate on the government gun-trafficking operation nicknamed "Fast and Furious" throughout the election season and into next year.
Meanwhile, Republican Mitt Romney will square off with Democrat President Barack Obama, who invoked executive privilege to conceal documents from the botched operation, in Nov. 6 elections, according to USA Today.
Republicans are seeking those documents for a congressional investigation that may link Holder’s office to Arizona gun sales to Mexican drug cartels.
Republican House Speaker John Boehner said it became necessary to sue because the Obama administration was "stonewalling."
The suit requests docs Republicans say are at the heart of their investigation. Meanwhile, Obama has claimed executive privilege. effectively smothering the investigation. The Republican-controlled House of Representatives voted to hold Holder in contempt for his part in withholding documents.
Holder’s Justice Department spokeswoman Tracy Schmaler said the department was "always willing to work with the committee."
"Instead the House and the committee have said they prefer to litigate," she said.
For his part, Holder has used the Justice Department to sue various states, including Arizona, over illegal immigration and voter roll checks in Florida for illegal immigrants.
Congress is rarely forced to sue a presidential administration to get documents for an investigation however the withholding of documents by the executive branch is not uncommon. However, the Obama administration has refused to budge on defending Holder’s case with executive privilege.
In 2008 a judge ruled in favor of House Democrats who wanted testimony and documents related to the firings of some U.S. attorneys, although both political parties change U.S. attorneys regularly at the discretion of the president. Democrats got what they wanted in that lawsuit against aides to President George W. Bush.
Mitchel Sollenberger, a political scientist who studies Congress at the University of Michigan-Dearborn, says the district judge would probably not make a ruling before November’s election.
Representative Darrell Issa, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said in a statement on Monday there was a Justice Department "cover-up" and Obama was obstructing the truth.