House Holds Holder in Contempt, Democrats Walk Out

The Republican-controlled House of Representatives voted to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress, but the majority of the Democratic caucus walked off the floor and refused to vote in protest of the vote.

The House voted by a 255-67-1 margin to hold Holder in criminal contempt, but 108 representatives refused to vote on the measure.

Republicans also voted to hold the Attorney General in civil contempt, because a criminal contempt charge would be prosecuted by the Justice Department, which Holder heads.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., gave the walk-out her blessing in an emotional floor speech, saying, “What is happening here is shameful.” She added that she had planned to vote no on the motion, but that she had come to agree with the Congressional Black Caucus, which had decided to walk out rather than recognize the legitimacy of the vote. “This is something that makes a witch hunt look like a day at the beach.”

“We are non-participants in what we believe to be a calamity,” said Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, D-Mo., in a statement given to reporters after the walk-out.

Republicans have attacked Holder for refusing to turn over documents related to the Fast and Furious program, though they have not been able to point to any specific wrongdoing by Holder himself. President Barack Obama has invoked executive privilege with regard to the documents in question, and the Justice Department has offered to discuss ways that the department could share the documents with the House.

Democrats accused the Republicans of playing politics with the serious matter of a contempt citation, but Republicans said they were only trying to get to the bottom of the mistakes made in the Fast and Furious gunwalking program, which was tied to the death of border patrol agent Brian Terry in 2010.

“A man died serving his country and we have a right to know what the federal government’s hand was in that,” said Rep. Rich Nugent, R-Fla. “It’s clear this country somehow played a role in his death. We need to root it out, find the cause, and make sure this never, ever happens again.”

Holder blasted the vote, saying in a statement that it was “a misguided – and politically motivated – investigation during an election year.” Holder added, “I had hoped that Congressional leaders would be good-faith partners in this work. Some have. Others, however, have devoted their time and attention to making reckless charges – unsupported by fact – and to advancing truly absurd conspiracy theories.”

The White House called the vote a “transparently political stunt.” In a statement, White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer said, “In an act of good faith, this week the Administration made an additional offer which would have resulted in the Committee getting unprecedented access to documents dispelling any notion of an intent to mislead.”

17 Democrats voted with Republicans to hold Holder in contempt. Some Democrats were expected to do so, as the National Rifle Association announced it would score the vote. Democrats voting for contempt were Reps. Jason Altmire, D-Penn.; John Barrow, D-Ga.; Dan Boren, D-Okla.; Leonard Boswell, D-Ia.; Ben Chandler, D-Ky.; Mark Critz, D-Penn.; Joe Donnelly, D-Ind.; Kathy Hochul, D-N.Y.; Ron Kind, D-Wisc.; Larry Kissell, D-N.C.; Jim Matheson, D-Utah; Mike McIntyre, D-N.C.; Bill Owens, D-N.Y.; Collin Peterson, D-Minn.; Nick Rahall, D-W.V.; Mike Ross, D-Ark.; and Tim Walz, D-Minn.

Two Republicans crossed party lines and voted against contempt. Rep. Steve LaTourette, R-Ohio, and Rep. Scott Rigel, R-Va., voted against the resolution.

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Image Credit: Ryan J. Reilly


Larry Cormier
Larry Cormier4 years ago

Simply another distraction concocted by the rulers of the New World Order to sway those stupid enough to beleive they're right. This program was put in place by the little tyrant himself GW and I'm sure his side-kick Cheney no-bid Haliburton. Now they try to pass fault on someone who most probably either didn't know about it or fully beleived it was going as intended. The President cannot be expected to keep an eye on everything. That's why, like corporations, we have people in charge of other people. This incedent looks like a bought and paid for set-up.

Ron B.
Ron B.4 years ago

The most contempt in this matter should be toward the actions of the current GOP, the most extremist, corrupt, dangerous and hypocritical political organization in the history of the US and the handful of intimidated, spineless Democrats who voted with the Republicans.

Frances C.
Frances C.4 years ago

Darrel Issa came into his position with his main goal of investigating every Democrat he could find any shred of a phony hint of wrong doing. He is scum!

Frances C.
Frances C.4 years ago

There are no liars like the tea baggers, and Fox noise channel along with Limbaugh, Beck, Hannity, and so on. They don't care if we know they are lying because they know the ditto heads will believe everything they say. It is easy to find their lies they are all on tape.

Pat R.
Pat R.4 years ago

I beg to differ with you Fred b ut all of them lie regaudless of the party they are in

Fred F.
Fred F.4 years ago

One poster asks how these twisted people keep getting elected. How does a Darrel Issa ever get to congress in the first place. The reason is simple. It's because republican voters just like republican officials are dishonest by nature. They're evil little peckerwoods that love to whisper poison words that will incite people to hate and anger. Lots of people have the mistaken impression that GOP voters are just uninformed and ignorant. That GOP voters vote for the terrible people and shameless policies because they the voters have been conned. That's nonsense. The reason that GOP voters support the dregs of humanity to represent them and their agenda is because they want people like themselves speaking for them.

Fred F.
Fred F.4 years ago

The republicans use that agents death for political gain. You never hear a peep out of the GOP hate squad over the thousands of dead Americans who's lives were lost fighting a war that we entered based on bald faced lies from Bush and Cheney about WMDs. These young soldiers and Marines would all be alive today but for the criminal con duct of both Bush and Cheney. Fast and furious is a perfect description of how the Bush administration lied to get us into a bogus shooting war. Any party that lies us into a war has absolutely no credibility when it comes to lost American lives whatever the circumstances.

Pat R.
Pat R.4 years ago

They are being elected by uneducated people who vote for them on the things they say, rather than look at the past track record, political platforms, ect..... Meanwhile the rest of us suffer due to the lack of knowledge of the masses. We as a whole need to drag our heads out of the sand and take a look at our government. Sorry if you don't agree, but everyone of them are supposed to work for us. "WE, THE PEOPLE!"

Carl Oerke
Carl O.4 years ago

Representative Darrell Issa who once purportedly stole an expensive car and brought you the hearing on women's health issues wherein no women were allowed to testify before the panel including Sandra Fluke now brings you a partisan contempt vote on Eric Holder who shut down the Fast and Furious program that had been started under the administration of George W. Bush to make political points.Its costs taxpayers $33 million a day to run Congress and Issa wasted our tax dollars on a contempt vote on ERic Holder. Hey Darrell you might not be aware of this or note but there are people suffering in this country out or work, loosing their homes,lacking health care and you choose to pursue a totally partisan wast of time and money witch hunt. Pull you head out of your ass for a couple of minutes and try working on a jobs plan jackass! Tell me how to these idiots keep getting elected?

Mike Chrissie
Mike Chrissie4 years ago

what is it Holder and Obama hidding? What is t they don't want the people to see?