Thursday, May 26, 2011

Grassley Threatens Hold On Justice Nominees Over Lack Of Answers On Project Gunwalker

Senator Chuck Grassley can be like a bulldog when he is after information on governmental wrongdoing. He was the first member of Congress to push for answers on Project Gunwalker and he isn't stopping.

Both FoxNews and The Hill reported yesterday that Grassley is threatening a "hold" on Justice nominees due to a lack of answers from the Justice Department on Project Gunwalker. As I've noted here many times, Senator Grassley has submitted numerous information requests and has gotten little cooperation from the Justice Department.

Currently, Justice nominess for Solicitor General, the head of the Office of Legal Counsel, and the head of the National Security Division have passed the Senate Judiciary Committee. These and others could be held up if Senator Grassley puts a hold on them as is his privilege under Senate rules.

From FoxNews:
A Grassley aide told on Wednesday that three Justice nominees recently sent to the floor could be the first to get caught up in the dispute.

They are Donald Verrilli, nominee for solicitor general; Virginia Seitz, nominee to head the Office of Legal Counsel; and Lisa Monaco, nominee to head the National Security Division.

"Those would be possibilities," Grassley spokeswoman Beth Levine said, adding that her boss could put a hold on virtually anybody in line for a job at Justice over his concerns. The three nominees she named just happened to be voted recently out of committee.

"He's reserving the right to hold up nominees," Levine said.
From The Hill:
Grassley told The Hill that the DOJ officials have not been forthcoming on his requests for documents. If they continue to be unresponsive, Grassley said, he will hold Obama’s judicial nominations hostage.

“We’re just getting stonewalled,” Grassley said in an interview. “The next step is we’re going to hold up nominations until we get their attention.”

Given the dismissive attitude shown by Assistant Attorney General Ronald Weich to these matters, it may well take a blunt weapon like putting holds on all nominees to get his and Eric Holder's attention.

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