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Rep. Jim Matheson intends to vote in favor of holding A.G. in contempt

Published: Tuesday, June 26 2012 5:48 p.m. MDT

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder addresses attendees at "Protecting Civil Rights: A Symposium on Key Civil Rights Issues" in Boston, Tuesday, June 26, 2012. The U.S. House of Representatives is scheduled to hold a vote Thursday as to whether Holder should be held in contempt of congress regarding the Justice Departments Fast and Furious gun program.

Associated Press

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WASHINGTON — Rep. Jim Matheson said Tuesday he intends to vote in favor of holding U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress regarding a government operation gone wrong.

Utahns expect and deserve transparency and accountability from government officials, especially when a tragedy such as the death of a U.S. Border Patrol agent occurs, he said. The tragedy, he said, is compounded when both sides play politics instead of releasing the facts.

"Sadly, it seems that it will take holding the attorney general in contempt to communicate that evasiveness is unacceptable," Matheson said.

In an operation known as “Fast and Furious," officials lost track of more than 1,400 guns being used to identify and arrest Mexican drug cartel leaders. Some of the guns ended up being connected to crimes, including one used in the deadly shooting of U.S. Border Patrol agent Brian Terry.

"The Terry family, the public and Congress deserve answers," the Democratic representative said.

Regardless of when the operation began, as the head of the Justice Department in 2009, Holder is ultimately in charge of getting to the bottom of the matter and informing Congress so that people responsible for the "ill-conceived effort" are held accountable and to prevent it from happening again, Matheson said.

Congress is scheduled to vote on the contempt resolution Thursday.

Dennis Romboy

Twitter: dennisromboy

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