In brief: Attorney general faces contempt vote
WASHINGTON – A House committee looking into a flawed gun-smuggling probe in Arizona announced Monday that it will consider holding Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress next week for failing to produce some documents the panel is seeking.
The committee has scheduled a contempt vote for June 20.
To date, the Justice Department has produced 7,600 pages of material to the committee.
Darrell Issa, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said Congress needs to examine records regarding the Justice Department’s conduct following public disclosures in early 2011 that hundreds of guns illicitly purchased at gun shops on the U.S. side of the border wound up in Mexico, many of them at crime scenes.
The Justice Department said many of the documents being sought deal with open criminal investigations and prosecutions – matters relating to sensitive law enforcement activities that cannot be disclosed.
Cabinet member hits car waiting for train
SAN GABRIEL, Calif. – A succession of small fender benders over the weekend raises questions about whether U.S. Commerce Secretary John Bryson has a medical or legal problem – or both.
The bizarre series of events happened Saturday afternoon when Bryson hit a car stopped for a train – twice – then rammed into another vehicle a few minutes later. He was found unconscious in his car, and government officials said Monday he had a seizure, which could play a role in whether he’s charged with felony hit-and-run.
It wasn’t clear whether the medical episode preceded or followed the collisions, but Bryson hasn’t suffered a seizure before, said a department official who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the secretary’s medical history.
Bryson has a “limited recall of the events,” the official said.
KKK hopes to adopt stretch of highway
ATLANTA – A Ku Klux Klan group is trying to join Georgia’s “Adopt-A-Highway” program to clean up litter on a mile-long stretch of road, creating a quandary for state officials hesitant to acknowledge a group with a violent, racist past on a roadside sign.
The International Keystone Knights of the KKK applied last month to adopt part of Route 515 in the Appalachian Mountains. The Georgia Department of Transportation is meeting with lawyers from the state attorney general’s office on Monday to decide how to proceed.
The program enlists volunteers from groups and companies to pick up trash. Each group that volunteers is named on a sign along the road it adopts.
April Chambers, the KKK group’s secretary, said she applied for the program to keep the scenic highway beautiful, not for publicity.
“I live in the mountains and I want to keep them beautiful,” Chambers said, adding that tourists frequently litter along the road as they pass through. “We didn’t intend on this being big. I don’t know why anybody’s offended by it.”