Roanoke congressman Bob Goodlatte was back at the center stage of national controversies as U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder appeared before the House Judiciary Committee. (Goodlatte is chairman of the committee).
Goodlatte said he wanted to hear from Holder about why the Justice Department obtained telephone records for more than 20 Associated Press reporters and editors over a two-month period.
“These requests appear to be very broad and intersect important First Amendment protections,” he said.
After commending the FBI, which Holder oversees and other law enforcement agencies that apprehending the two brothers who bombed the Boston Marathon, Goodlatte said he was concerned about reports that several different agencies had had received intelligence about the bombers.
“These agencies did not connect the dots – and this is not the first time this has happened in recent years,” he said. “The question that the Administration and we in Congress need to address is whether there are any improvements that can be made going forward to facilitate inter-agency information sharing, so that we can better thwart future domestic terrorists.”
Goodlatte said he also wanted to hear about ways the Department of Justice plans to cut costs, noting that he’s see reports the department pays for costly entertainment and duplicative programs.
“I am also deeply concerned about a pattern I see emerging at the Department under your leadership in which conclusions reached by career attorneys after thorough investigation are overruled by Administration appointees for political reasons,” he said. He mentioned a quashed appeal of a Minnesota case involving the fair housing, as well as a New York Times report that political appointees at the Department decided to commit as much as $4.4 billion in taxpayer money to compensate thousands of farmers who had never claimed bias in court, over objections of career attorneys.