Thread: Eric Holder contempt vote.
06-29-2012, 09:59 AM #1
Eric Holder contempt vote.
Attorney General Eric Holder held in contempt of Congress
The vote was 255-67. | AP Photo
By JOHN BRESNAHAN and SEUNG MIN KIM | 6/28/12 4:43 PM EDT Updated: 6/28/12 5:47 PM EDT
The House has voted to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress over his failure to turn over documents related to the Fast and Furious scandal, the first time Congress has taken such a dramatic move against a sitting Cabinet official.
The vote was 255-67, with 17 Democrats voting in support of a criminal contempt resolution, which authorizes Republicans leaders to seek criminal charges against Holder. This Democratic support came despite a round of behind-the-scenes lobbying by senior White House and Justice officials - as well as pressure from party leaders - to support Holder.
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Holder reacts to contempt vote
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Two Republicans, Reps. Steve LaTourette (Ohio) Scott Rigell (Va.), voted against the contempt resolution.
Another civil contempt resolution, giving the green light for the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee to sue the Justice Department to get the Fast and Furious documents, passed by a 258-95 margin. Twenty-one Democrats voted for that measure.
But dozens of other Democrats marched off the floor in protest during the vote, adding even more drama to a tumultuous moment in the House chamber.
The heated House floor fight over Holder capped a historic day in Washington, coming just hours after the Supreme Court, just across the street from the Capitol, issued its landmark ruling upholding most of Barack Obama’s health care law. The passions of the day were evident inside the Capitol, where Democrats accused Republicans of ginning up the contempt vote for political purposes while Republicans continued to charge the Justice Department with a cover up on the Fast and Furious scandal.
The fight over the Holder contempt resolution also drew intense interest from outside groups ranging from the NAACP to the National Rifle Association.
In a statement released by his office, Holder blasted the contempt votes as “politically motivated” and “misguided,” and he singled out Rep. Darrell Issa (Calif.), chairman of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee and lead Republican on the Fast and Furious probe, for special criticism.
“Today’s vote is the regrettable culmination of what became a misguided – and politically motivated – investigation during an election year,” Holder said in his statement. “By advancing it over the past year and a half, Congressman Issa and others have focused on politics over public safety. Instead of trying to correct the problems that led to a series of flawed law enforcement operations, and instead of helping us find ways to better protect the brave law enforcement officers, like Agent Brian Terry, who keep us safe – they have led us to this unnecessary and unwarranted outcome.”
Holder added: “Today’s vote may make for good political theater in the minds of some, but it is – at base – both a crass effort and a grave disservice to the American people. They expect – and deserve – far better.”
White House officials also slammed House Republicans for the unprecedented contempt vote. White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer said GOP congressional leaders “pushed for political theater rather than legitimate congressional oversight. Over the past fourteen months, the Justice Department accommodated congressional investigators, producing 7,600 pages of documents, and testifying at eleven congressional hearings… But unfortunately, a politically-motivated agenda prevailed and instead of engaging with the President in efforts to create jobs and grow the economy, today we saw the House of Representatives perform a transparently political stunt.
Read more: http://www.politico.com/news/stories...#ixzz1zBsnrI3P
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