Congressman to Holder: Where Does the Buck Stop?

By Elizabeth Harrington | May 15, 2013 | 2:28pm EDT

Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) ( Starr)

( – Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) told Attorney General Eric Holder Wednesday to visit the Truman Library, “because we don’t know where the buck stops,” referring to scandals at the Justice Department.

“Mr. Attorney General, I think that this committee has been frustrated for at least the last two and a half years—if not the last four and a half years—that there doesn’t seem to be any acceptance of responsibility in the Justice Department for things that have gone wrong,” Sensenbrenner said, during an oversight hearing before the House Judiciary Committee.

“Now, may I suggest that you and maybe Mr. [James] Cole and a few other people go to the Truman Library and take a picture of the thing that he had on his desk that said that ‘The buck stops here,’” he said. “Because we don’t know where the buck stops.

“And I think to do adequate oversight we’d better find out how this happened.”

President Harry Truman famously displayed the sign "The Buck Stops Here" on his desk, acknowledging that he ultimately accepted responsibility as Commander in Chief.

Sensenbrenner questioned Holder on the Justice Department’s decision to seize the phone records of more than 20 lines of reporters and editors for the Associated Press, during a DOJ investigation into national security leaks.

Holder said he has recused himself from the investigation and did not issue the subpoena to obtain the personal phone records of the AP.

After repeatedly saying he did not know for certain if Deputy Attorney General James Cole made the decision, during the hearing Holder confirmed that Cole authorized the subpoena to access the phone records.

Obtaining the AP’s phone records is just the latest scandal at the DOJ under Holder’s watch, according to House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif), including the gun running operation “Fast and Furious,” and for failing to prosecute the New Black Panthers for alleged voter intimidation on Election Day 2008.

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