Issa: Holder Has 'Simply Not Done His Job Well'

By Susan Jones | September 26, 2014 | 6:19 AM EDT

President Barack Obama announced that Attorney General Eric Holder is resigning on Thursday, Sept. 25, 2014. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

(CNSNews.com) - "Good riddance" sums up the attitude of many Republicans, including House Oversight Committee Chairman Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), to news that Attorney General Eric Holder is leaving the job he's held for almost six years.

"This attorney general has chosen to politicize his office," Issa told Fox News's Megyn Kelly Thursday night. "He's selectively gone after an awful lot of lawful citizens. And he's, you know, just simply not done his job well.

Issa said Holder certainly has served the president the way Obama wanted to be served. But even the Justice Department's independent inspector-general has told Congress that the I-G's effort to oversee the Justice Department "had been obstructed time and time again."

Issa's committee has tangled with Holder on numerous occasions over his refusal to hand over documents in the Fast and Furious gun-running investigation that is blamed for the murder of U.S. Border Patrol agent Brian Terry.

On June 28th, 2012, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to hold the attorney general in contempt of Congress for refusing to produce Operation Fast and Furious documents subpoenaed the previous year. The parallel civil contempt case is currently before a federal judge, and Issa said the legal proceedings will continue even though Holder is leaving office.

"[T]he goal is to get the documents that were withheld," Issa said. He noted that on October 1, the Justice Department will either have to file another appeal or else turn over a list of the documents it is withholding.

Issa said Holder's decision to step down now is political -- because "he does everything for political reasons." President Obama is expected to have an easier time getting Holder's replacement confirmed while the Senate is in Democratic hands.

"He could have waited until the day after the election," Issa said. "Very clearly he wanted to get out in front of it."

"You know, senators -- absolutely, positively even after this election, even if the Senate changes hands during the lame duck -- they're not going to have a lightning rod like Eric Holder."

Earlier Thursday, Issa issued a statement calling Holder "the most divisive U.S. Attorney General in modern history."

"Through strong-arming reporters, practically ignoring high-level wrongdoing, blocking his own agency Inspector General’s access to information, and overseeing a department that attempted to stonewall Congressional oversight with denials of what is now established fact, Attorney General Holder abused his office and failed to uphold the values of our Constitution. 

"While President Obama and the Senate should work expeditiously to find a replacement, time and care must be taken to ensure that our next Attorney General recognizes and does not repeat Mr. Holder’s mistakes.”

In a similar vein, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus called Holder's departure "overdue."

“Along with many Republicans, I have repeatedly called for Eric Holder’s resignation. He lost the public’s trust years ago," Priebus said in a statement.

“His politicization of the Justice Department was inexcusable, and his handling of issues -- ranging from Fast and Furious to spying on reporters -- was unacceptable. Like the president who appointed him, Holder far too often disregarded the Constitution. He allowed the Obama administration to exceed the limits of its power, and he allowed the IRS to harass and target Americans.

“Americans deserve an Attorney General who respects the Constitution, understands the limits placed on the president’s power, and can ably manage the Justice Department.”

President Obama, who called Holder's departure "bittersweet," has not yet named Holder's replacement.