Outside editorial: House should hold attorney general Holder in contempt

The following editorial appeared in the Seattle Times:

Executive privilege is a principle dangerous to democracy, whether invoked by a Republican or Democratic president. The Obama administration has invoked it and now is threatened with retaliation: House Republicans say unless the administration hands over subpoenaed documents, they will vote Thursday to declare Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress. If that is what it takes, they should do it.

It is an election year, so the administration’s defenders are saying that a call for disclosure is “all politics.” Of course there is political hay in it, but the request is still valid. Congress needs to know about botched government programs.

This was one. Called “Fast and Furious,” it was a sting operation run out of the Phoenix, Ariz., office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives from 2009 to 2011. Its aim was to allow Mexican drug organizations to buy illegal guns so that U.S. agents could follow the guns, arrest the people who had them and destroy the cartels.

The U.S. agents lost track of hundreds of guns. In 2010, two of the guns were found at the killing scene of U.S. border agent Brian Terry. The Mexican government also said Fast and Furious guns were found at 170 crime scenes in Mexico.

Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, followed with an investigation, which led to the testimony of Holder and the release of 7,000 pages of Department of Justice documents.

An additional 1,300 pages under House of Representatives subpoena were the subject of a presidential order of executive privilege, the first such order of Obama’s presidency. That is what the argument is about.

Obama has said he did not know about Fast and Furious, and Issa does not claim the president knew. That is not the issue.

The issue is whether Congress has the right to learn about it, and it does.


Sun, 02/19/2017 - 12:01

My Turn: What kind of Alaska do you want to live in?

This question gets to the heart of the matter. What is it we really want Alaska to look like? What kind of Alaska do we want 20 and 40 years from now?

Read more

My Turn: Let’s not act like victims of new state taxes

“I guarantee everybody in Alaska will find something about this plan they don’t particularly care for,” Gov. Bill Walker said when he unveiled his proposal to tackle the state’s fiscal crisis. Now, 14 months later, with the Legislature poised to pass some new tax measures, those voices are making themselves heard. Instead of harmony in the chorus of complaints though, everyone is fending for themselves.

Read more

Alaska editorial: Much-maligned SB 91 needs tweaks from Legislature, not repeal

This editorial first appeared in the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner:

Read more


  • Switchboard: 907-586-3740
  • Circulation and Delivery: 907-586-3740
  • Newsroom Fax: 907-586-9097
  • Business Fax: 907-586-9097
  • Accounts Receivable: 907-523-2230
  • View the Staff Directory
  • or Send feedback