WASHINGTON -- Republicans on the House Financial Services Committee have asked the Justice Department to turn over a memo that spells out the Obama administration's view of whether the so-called platinum coin option could avert a congressional fight over the debt ceiling limit.
House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) and Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.) wrote a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder on Dec. 20, asking DOJ to turn over "all records within the custody and control of DOJ which relate to the coin issuance proposal," as first reported by The Hill.
The Huffington Post reported last month that the Justice Department has acknowledged the existence of an official Office of Legal Counsel memo on the platinum coin option. Supporters say the option would allow the Treasury Department to mint a platinum coin in any denomination, which then could be used to meet government obligations without the need for Congress to grant any additional spending powers. While DOJ acknowledged in a response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request that such a memo or memos existed, it also said the material was withheld because it was protected by attorney-client and deliberative process privileges and "not appropriate for discretionary release."
The letter from Hensarling and McHenry set a Jan. 3 deadline, but officials have yet to receive the documents from DOJ, according to committee spokesman Jeff Emerson. Emerson said DOJ was unable to meet the deadline because subject matter experts were unavailable due to the holidays.
Read the letter, embedded below: