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Thursday, Jul 24, 2014
Commentary

For nation to move forward, Holder has to go


Published:

I urge President Obama to remove Eric Holder from his position as attorney general.

The Department of Justice has forced journalists to hand over their records and allowed broad seizure of phone records of all Verizon customers. And we're now reading reports of the DOJ allowing the National Security Agency (NSA) to broadly collect records of Internet history.

These reports are frightening. We are a government of the people and by the people. Why is the DOJ allowing at least 121 million Americans - one-third of the population - to be subjected to this overreach? Common decency says this shouldn't happen.

I agree that America needs to be safe, but this is too far. Is the Department of Justice suggesting that they suspect every Verizon customer of terrorist activities?

Some will argue that George Bush and the Patriot Act started this. The Patriot Act requires that the records be relevant to the investigation. Conducting surveillance on all records from every Verizon subscriber goes far beyond the scope of the Patriot Act.

Congress has the responsibility and authority of oversight of the federal agencies. As a member of Congress, I take my job seriously. The president should as well.

The president appointed Holder as attorney general, and the president can remove him. My colleagues and I have asked for his resignation several times and have even voted to hold him in contempt, all of which he has ignored. We are now asking Obama to remove Holder from his position.

As the chief law enforcement officer of the U.S. government, the attorney general is responsible for overseeing the enforcement of all federal laws. The attorney general also is responsible for representing the United States in legal matters and generally provides advice and opinions to the president and to the heads of the executive departments.

Unfortunately, Holder has failed to uphold his important duties to the American public on numerous occasions.

Operation Fast and Furious, the Department of Justice's seizure of phone records of reporters within The Associated Press (AP) and Fox News, and the most recent report of the FBI's broad intrusion into Americans' phone records are just a few examples of the disturbing actions taken by the Department of Justice while under the direction of Holder.

The attorney general has either overseen a rogue agency, one that he cannot control, or directly played a role in allowing these unacceptable actions to take place.

In any case, under Holder's leadership, the American public has lost confidence in the attorney general's ability to fulfill the responsibilities of his office.

Now is the time to remove the chief law enforcement officer of the United States in order to restore the much-needed trust of the American public. A government created by the will of the governed should not govern by fear and intimidation. It is contrary to our founding principles.

The DOJ has abused its powers and disrupted our freedom, privacy and sense of security. And the attorney general must be held accountable once and for all.

In order to move forward and feel safe once again, it's time President Obama remove Eric Holder as attorney general.

U.S. Rep. Dennis Ross, R-Lakeland, represents the 15th District.

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