Attorney General Eric Holder Held in Contempt of Congress
The House of Representatives made an unprecedented decision this week to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in Contempt of Congress during a special hearing. This decision by the House makes Holder the first attorney general in American history to be held in Contempt of Congress. He has been found in contempt for withholding documents related to the congressional investigation into the Fast and Furious operation.
The House voted against Holder in a 255 to 67 vote, with plans to sanction him for not cooperating with their probe. Operation “Fast and Furious” was led by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives from 2009 to 2011. A separate charge of civil contempt was also supported against Holder.
Holder says that the vote was ”the regrettable culmination of what became a misguided — and politically motivated — investigation during an election year.”
Holder also accused Republicans of valuing “politics over public safety.”
White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer said that “Republicans pushed for political theater rather than legitimate Congressional oversight.”
The next step is for Congress to refer the contempt charges over to Ronald C. Machen Jr., the US Attorney for the District of Columbia. That’s where Machen decides if he would like to press charges against Holder. This will also open the door for the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee to challenge President Obama’s decision to use executive privilege to keep the panel from getting access to specific documents.
Over 100 members of Congress walked out the front door during the vote out of protest.
“This is a somber day for the House of Representatives,” said Rep. Emanuel Cleaver II (D-Mo.), chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus. “We are declaring, by walking out, we are not participating.”