Attorney General

Holder spars with Issa over email release, says the lawmaker's behavior is 'shameful'

Attorney General Eric Holder clashed with a Republican lawmaker from California on Wednesday during questioning about a purported deal to drop a lawsuit against the city of St. Paul, Minn.

Holder told U.S. Rep. Darrell Issa that his behavior was “unacceptable” and “shameful,” report ABC News, the Hill and the New York Times blog the Caucus.

Issa wants to know how Labor Secretary nominee Tom Perez was involved in the St. Paul decisions in his job as an assistant attorney general. Issa is suggesting that the Justice Department declined to join a False Claims Act suit against St. Paul officials concerning the spending of earmarked federal funds in exchange for St. Paul’s agreement to drop a Supreme Court case.

Cert had been granted in the case that challenged the use of statistics in housing bias cases, the Wall Street Journal (sub. req.) explained in March. Perez was examining possible bias in loans to minorities and he was a proponent of the use of statistics to prove bias.

During the hearing on Wednesday, Issa complained that Perez’s emails turned over by the Justice Department showed only “to” and “from” lines without the content. Holder said he would look into it. “I’m sure there was a good reason” why the content of the e-mails was not released, he said.

Issa suggested he knew the reason. “You didn’t want us to see the details,” Issa said.

ABC has Holder’s full response: “You mischaracterize something and claim its fact when it is not and it’s unacceptable and it’s the way you conduct yourself. It is inappropriate and is too consistent with the way in which you conduct yourself as a member of Congress. It’s unacceptable and it’s shameful.”

The Hill points out that Issa led an effort to place Holder in contempt of Congress last year after a clash about the release of documents in the botched Fast and Furious gun tracking program.

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