A new bill would strip government employees held in contempt of Congress of their paychecks, in the latest Republican-led attack on Attorney General Eric Holder.
“My bill will at least prevent current and future federal employees, like Attorney General Holder, from continuing to collect their taxpayer-paid salaries while held in contempt of Congress,” Texas Republican Rep. Blake Farenthold, the bill’s author, said in a statement. He also notes that the bill could apply to the Internal Revenue Service’s Lois Lerner, who could be held in contempt for her role in the IRS’s profiling of conservative groups.
Holder was held in contempt in 2012 for not releasing documents related to the Fast and Furious program, a botched federal gun trafficking sting that existed from 2009-2011. Holder is the first cabinet member to be cited in contempt, according to Bloomberg.
“The American people should not be footing the bill for federal employees who stonewall Congress or rewarding government officials’ bad behavior,” Farenthold said. The bill, announced Tuesday, was first introduced last Thursday.
Last week, Holder suggested that racism was at the root of how members of the House treated him in a hearing on the Fast and the Furious program.
“You look at the way the attorney general of the Untied States was treated yesterday by a House committee. Had nothing to do with me. Forget the — what attorney general has ever had to deal with that kind of treatment?” he said, discussing racial profiling at a National Action Network event, referring to an exchange with Rep. Louie Gohmert, where the two sparred over Holder’s contempt citation.
Farenthold refused to question Holder in that hearing, saying that anyone else who hadn’t complied with a subpoena “would be in jail.” His contempt for Holder is not new, either: last year, Farenthold joined with ten other hardline Republicans who tried to impeach Holder.