What to know about Eric Holder
June 27th, 2012
02:37 PM ET

What to know about Eric Holder

The U.S. House will proceed with a vote Thursday on whether to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress. Holder has been cited for withholding documents in the "Operation Fast and Furious" weapons operation.

Fast and Furious was a federal operation that involved agents' allowing illegal sales of guns believed to be destined for Mexican drug cartels. The idea was to track the sellers and purchasers, but things went awry when weapons found at murder scenes were traced back to the program.

Fast and Furious: By the numbers

As the proceedings continue with Holder, here's a bit of background on his time as Attorney General, as well as a timeline of the events involving Fast and Furious. (For an in-depth breakdown, you can also read more about the Fast and Furious investigation, which started with an agent's death.):

Eric Holder

-February 3, 2009 – present – Attorney General of the U.S.

-1997- 2001 – Deputy Attorney General of the United States.

-The 82nd (and first African-American) Attorney General.


-Birth date:  January 21, 1951

-Birthplace: New York, New York

-Birth name: Eric Himpton Holder, Jr.

-Parents: Eric Holder, realtor, and Miriam Yearwood Holder, a telephone operator

-Spouse: Dr. Sharon Malone

-Children: Maya, Brooke and Eric III

-Education: Columbia University, B.A., American history, 1973

Columbia University Law School, J.D., 1976

Other Facts:

-Co-chaired Barack Obama's vice presidential selection team.

-Serves on several philanthropic boards, such as the Meyer Foundation, Save the Children, and Concerned Black Men, a group that seeks to help D.C. teens with problems such as sub-par academic achievement and pregnancy.

Career highlights:

-1976-1988 – Trial attorney for the Department of Justice's Public Integrity Section.

-1988-1993 – Appointed associate judge for the Superior Court of the District of Columbia.

-1993-1997 –  Appointed U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia.

-1997-2001 – Deputy attorney general of the United States. He was the first African-American to hold this position.

-2001 – Served as acting attorney general during John Ashcroft's Senate confirmation hearings.

-2001-present – Litigation partner with Covington & Burling LLP.

-2007-2008 – Senior legal advisor for Obama's presidential campaign.

-December 1, 2008 – President-elect Barack Obama nominates Holder to be attorney general.

-January 15, 2009 – Holder's confirmation hearing in the Senate begins.

-February 2, 2009 – Holder is confirmed by the Senate, 75 – 21.

-February 3, 2009 – Sworn in by Vice President Joe Biden.

-February 18, 2009 – While delivering an address on race at the Justice Department, Holder makes a controversial remark calling the United States a "nation of cowards" for not discussing race relations.

-November 2009 – Holder announces that some of the alleged 9/11 conspirators, including the alleged principal planner of the attacks, Khalid Sheikh Mohammad, would be tried in U.S. District Court in New York rather than by military tribunals. (He would reverse that decision five months later, saying Congress had taken the decision out of his hands by restricting where they could be tried.)

-July 2010 – The Justice Department challenges an Arizona law (SB 1070) that cracks down on illegal immigration. Holder contends that federal immigration law pre-empts state laws. (The U.S. Supreme Court, on June 25, 2012, would strike down the controversial law’s major provisions).

-October 12, 2011 – Congressional investigators issue a subpoena for communications from Holder relating to Operation Fast and Furious, in which agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives allowed illegal sales of guns believed to be destined for Mexican drug cartels. However, hundreds of firearms went missing, and weapons found at murder scenes in Mexico - and at the scene of a December 2010 gun battle in Arizona that left Brian A. Terry, a U.S. Border Patrol agent, dead - were traced back to the program.

-June 20, 2012 – Obama asserts executive privilege over the documents sought by a House committee investigating the controversial Fast and Furious program. The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee recommends that Holder be cited for contempt of Congress for failing to turn over documents relating to the Fast and Furious operation.

-June 27 – House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, says the full House will vote June 28 on whether to cite the attorney general for contempt.

For more on Eric Holder and Fast and Furious:

Boehner: Contempt vote on Holder will proceed

Issa, White House clash over Fast and Furious executive privilege

Opinion: Don't be nosy about Fast and Furious

Holder rejects resignation call at heated Senate hearing

Executive privilege: A rocky legal and political road in U.S. history

Holder contempt vote sign of 'broken' Washington?

Why contempt case against Holder may be doomed

Contempt vote inflames Fast and Furious debate

CNN Money: The truth about the Fast and Furious scandal

soundoff (38 Responses)
  1. Hamsta

    D.O.J stands for Deparent Obstructing Justice.

    June 27, 2012 at 10:41 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Hamsta

    Excuse the typo I meant ro say D.O.J. stands for the Department Obstructing Justice. Or maybe that's what Eric holder thinks the initials mean. The article would be more accurate if it had stated that Eric Holder singled handedly changed the Department Of Justice into the Department Obstructing Justice.

    June 27, 2012 at 10:52 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Tim

    Just read this entire article and the article of Mr Shane's and I must say it's NO FREAKING wonder CNN's ratings are in the tank! I've never read so many outright lies and half truths in my whole life!
    Note to CNN: quit carrying water for the president and start being a REAL new service! ! ! ! !

    The American people deserve to know the truth and the families of slain Agent's Brian Terry, Jamie Zapata, and 300 + Mexican nationals who were murdered because of this criminal action DESERVE JUSTICE!

    June 27, 2012 at 11:19 pm | Report abuse |
  4. chilipepper

    I keep hearing from people like Geraldo that no other attorney General in the history of the United States has been charged with obstruction of justice. Like if congress is on a witch hunt. But you can read into that statement two ways. For Example no one has been as crooked as Holder ever in the history of the U.S

    June 28, 2012 at 7:01 am | Report abuse |
  5. Bill

    Y'all need to look at this guy's bio and resume so you can get the real picture of his belief base and his prior involvements. Very enlightening!

    June 28, 2012 at 8:08 am | Report abuse |
  6. Hamsta

    Eric Holder needs to be prosecuted in criminal court for his crimes.

    June 28, 2012 at 10:54 am | Report abuse |
  7. rjp34652

    "It is wrong to assent to falsehood and to conceal the truth."
    – Socrates

    June 28, 2012 at 1:03 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Ancient Texan

    The top cop is a crooked cop and should be in sheriff Joe's jail in Arizona.

    June 28, 2012 at 1:25 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Tired of being tired!

    No wonder America has fallen from grace! Just look at these idiot comments. The GOP is using the same old tactics of diversion and it works with the same uneducated people who only listen to talking pointsn and watch CNN. CNN spends more time giving Repubs time to spin through their own talking points and panels. I can tell this is a republican run network. The GOPs game is a waste of tax payer money. What we really need to do is probe into the background of these idiots voted into office. We would be miles ahead if we weren't so busy cleaning up the Republicans crap!

    June 28, 2012 at 3:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Truth Seeker

      Really tired? I am not and, like many, many citizens I know, we do not get tired when it comes to finding out the truth. The Fast and Furious Operation cost lives. It was a botched attempt to discredit the 2nd Amendment. Why not just hand the Taliban or Al Qaeda weapons to kill American soldiers. By the way, since you are so convinced this is just political, did you read the article today about the secret wiretappings that the DoJ and White House are trying to cover up? Google it and then ask yourself why CNN, ABC, CBS, NBC, Politico and Salon are not reporting this stuff.

      June 29, 2012 at 5:07 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Stanley Burke

    I would guess the only thing the Republican Party has not considered in the President invoking Executive Privilege, is that he did not want the familys of the killed boarder agents to know how the were killed. I know the Republican Party is in for a very shocking suprise. The one good thing to still come out of this,is for the american people to see how much the Republican Party waste a lot of the countrys time and our money. Augusta, Ga

    June 28, 2012 at 9:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • CLEEVE

      They are obsessed ... not with what might be good for the country ... but obsessed with resisting THE BLACK MAN IN THIER OVAL OFFICE. The result is that they are even willing to see the country fall apart than see a Black President get credit for anything significant. (Debt ceiling was just starters)

      June 29, 2012 at 10:24 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Ancient Texan

    The number of posters who think the investigation of the murder of two border patrol agents, killed with weapons bought by the US government and allowed to be distributed into the hands of drug cartels, is a waste of time is amazing. The whole thing was designed to be an end run around the second admendment and an attempt to impose new gun control laws. Obama caught telling the politician connected to the Brady law and wanting more controls, "we're working on it under the radar" is the indicator of the envolvement of the administration and the resultant coverup.

    June 29, 2012 at 9:28 am | Report abuse |
    • Obama Mama

      Ancient the guns were bought by people in America, sold to cartel by them, and watched by the government to see if they could prosecute them. The lax laws in AZ. along with the 300 sun shops within 2 miles of the border did not help. The guns usually 2000 a day were going across since 2006. This is an ongoing investigation, that is why they do not want to give the other paperwork. Guns have been going south for years, Holder and others decided to do something about it. Sometimes you have to lie with dogs to get their fleas.

      June 29, 2012 at 2:32 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Stanley Burke

    Ancient Texan – do you understand that the right to bare arms is a form of civil defense, and it will never go anywhere. Reguardless of who the president is. To better understand what im saying, if America was ever attacked by anyone their biggest concern would the gun that citizen have not the military.Most americans have at least 2 guns in their home some have a lot more. That right is not going anywhere. Understand.

    June 29, 2012 at 2:25 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Obama Mama

    Sre our memories so short that we forgot about Bush putting those 2 agent in prison for shooting a cartel member in the US? How short our memories are.

    June 29, 2012 at 2:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • CLEEVE

      That's different. Bush is a white man.

      June 29, 2012 at 10:18 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Robert Postuma

    Worst Attorney General in history.
    Liar and and crook!

    June 30, 2012 at 4:03 pm | Report abuse |
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