Attorney General Eric H. Holder was reminded during a recent congressional hearing that he has been held in “contempt of Congress” — for nonproduction of subpoenaed documents. He interrupted with a personal rebuke of his questioner.
Later, he suggested that questioning of his leadership, nonresponsiveness to congressional oversight, and referring to the contempt vote was evidence of racism. The accusation was made a second time, perhaps as a political stratagem, by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Let’s stop there — and stop the deflection, too.
No attorney general of the United States is entitled, for any reason, to escape scrutiny of Congress, period. Is the attorney general really mounting a defense to his contempt charges on the basis that Congress is racist and that he need not respond to legal prerogatives they lawfully exercise? Where would that wild notion put us as a country? How would any attorney general hiding behind this kind of defense ever be held accountable?
Does this mean, for example, whenever this attorney general is questioned for noncompliance with congressional subpoenas — particularly in a case grave enough to earn him criminal and civil contempt citations — an acceptable defense shall be to accuse the questioner of racism? Is this not a transparent deflection?