Philadelphia partner Scott Coffina was quoted in Fox News and the Washington Post on President Obama’s assertion of executive privilege to shield his attorney general and the Justice Department from congressional investigators.
A House committee voted to find Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. in contempt of Congress for failing to turn over documents related to the Justice Department’s “Fast and Furious” operation, which involved the flow of illegal guns to Mexico. The Obama Administration then invoked the privilege in its refusal to turn over documents.
The Post noted that the Obama’s invocation has reignited a long-running Washington debate over the limits of White House power.
Scott, a partner in the firm’s White Collar Criminal Defense Practice Group and former Associate Counsel to President George W. Bush, emphasized to the Post the need to safeguard “unvarnished” legal advice on policy matters.
He acknowledged, however, the documents in dispute could contain “significant information” that may explain why Holder reversed himself and declared the Fast and Furious program “fundamentally flawed” after initially standing by it.
Speaking to Fox News, Scott said this would be a gray area for the courts as it is "untested" whether bad policy decisions surrounding Fast and Furious would qualify as "misconduct," and, in turn, compel disclosure.
Scott said he supports the principle of withholding deliberative documents, because "there's an institutional need for the Executive Branch to be able to conduct investigations." But he also said that because of the sheer volume of documents at issue, "I guarantee you they're not all deliberative."
To read the Washington Post article, click here.
To read the Fox News article, click here.