Holder vote: Contempt of Congress

Photograph by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill on June 12, 2012.

In the second ring today:

Half the Democrats walked out of the U.S. House as Republican leaders conducted a vote to find Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress for failing to deliver documents about the “Fast and Furious” gun-running operation his agency conducted.

The House voted 255-67, the first time a sitting Cabinet member has been found in contempt of Congress.

The rebuke will end there, however. The Democratic-led Senate has no plans to follow suit.

The contempt vote is a result of a standoff  between President Barack Obama’s administration and Republican lawmakers over Fast and Furious, which allowed illegal gun purchases in the U.S. in an effort to link the weapons to Mexican drug cartels.

As Bloomberg’s Jim Rowley reports:  The House is seeking documents describing internal Justice Department discussions about a February 2011 letter to lawmakers on Fast and Furious that Holder later said mistakenly contained incorrect information. The documents sought by the panel cover the 10-month period between the initial letter and a subsequent one the Justice Department sent to correct the erroneous statements.

“This is about holding people accountable,” said Representative Richard Nugent, a Florida Republican.

“What the Republicans are doing with the motion today is contemptible,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat, told reporters today. “This is something that makes a witch hunt look like a day at the beach” because it is “based on a false premise” of a cover-up by the Justice Department.

See the background on this story at Bloomberg.com.


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