eric holder

House, Holder may near deal on Fast and Furious contempt

by Josh Gerstein,  |  published on February 4, 2013

A deal may be near in the Operation-Fast-and-Furious-related dispute that led the House of Representatives to cite Attorney General Eric Holder for contempt last year.

U.S. District Court Judge Amy Jackson was set to hold a key hearing next week in the lawsuit the House filed seeking to enforce its subpoena for records of how the Justice Department responded to Congressional inquiries about the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives gunrunning investigation that may have resulted in as many as 2000 weapons flowing to Mexican drug cartels.

However, both the Justice Department and the House asked Jackson Tuesday to put the scheduled hearing off for more than two months as the two sides try to work out a deal that could obviate the need for the lawsuit.

“The parties have continued to engage in settlement talks. Without divulging the substance of those talks, the talks are progressing sufficiently such that the parties believe that further talks may be fruitful,” Justice Department lawyers wrote in the new motion (posted here). “Accordingly, the parties believe that, in order to enable the parties to focus their efforts on settlement and avoid the potentially unnecessary expenditure of judicial resources, the hearing on the Motion to Dismiss should be rescheduled for the week of April 15, 2013.”

Berman quickly issued an order setting April 24 as the new date for the hearing, where she’s scheduled to hear arguments on the Justice Department’s claim that the lawsuit should be thrown out because the issue is a fundamentally political one that must be sorted out between the legislative and executive branches.

A spokeswoman for the Justice Department declined to comment on the discussions.

A spokeswoman for House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) did not immediately respond to an inquiry about the status of the talks.

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