Party Line Vote On Contempt Of Congress For Holder

The House Government Oversight and Reform Committee voted right along party lines to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress for failing to turn over documents requested in connection with the ‘Fast and Furious’ probe. The 23-17 vote came on the heels of the Obama administration invoking executive privilege to shield from disclosure some documents requested by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif) in his crusade against Holder. It was the first time the administration invoked executive privilege in connection with a congressional investigation.

Ahead of the vote, Holder said in a letter to Obama that sharing the Fast and Furious documents “would raise substantial separation of powers concerns and potentially create an imbalance in the relationship” between Congress and the White House. Releasing the documents “would inhibit candor of such Executive Branch deliberations in the future and significantly impair the Executive Branch’s ability to respond independently and effectively to congressional oversight,” Holder wrote.

Congressional Democrats made it clear they saw this as a purely political campaign and not a serious inquiry into the happenings at DOJ. “We’ve been holding the attorney general to an impossible standard,” said Rep. Elijah Cummings (Md.), the panel’s ranking Democrat. “You accused him of a ‘cover-up’ for protecting documents he was prohibited by law from producing. You claimed that he ‘obstructed’ the committee’s work by complying with federal statutes passed by both houses of Congress and signed by the president,” Cummings said. “And earlier this month, you went on national television and called the attorney general — our nation’s chief law enforcement officer — a liar.”

The panel’s actions will be reported to the full House, where Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) and GOP leaders are expected to schedule a floor vote soon. If passed by the full House, the matter would then move to the U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia, Ronald C. Machen Jr., who is an employee of the Justice Department for prosecution.

After the vote Holder issued the following statement:

In recent months, the Justice Department has made unprecedented accommodations to respond to information requests by Chairman Issa about misguided law enforcement tactics that began in the previous administration and allowed illegal guns to be taken into Mexico. Department professionals have spent countless hours compiling and providing thousands of documents — nearly 8,000 — to Chairman Issa and his committee. My staff has had numerous meetings with congressional staff to try and accommodate these requests and yesterday, I met with Chairman Issa to offer additional internal Department documents and information that would satisfy what he identified as the Committee’s single outstanding question.

Unfortunately, Chairman Issa has rejected all of these efforts to reach a reasonable accommodation. Instead, he has chosen to use his authority to take an extraordinary, unprecedented and entirely unnecessary action, intended to provoke an avoidable conflict between Congress and the Executive Branch. This divisive action does not help us fix the problems that led to this operation or previous ones and it does nothing to make any of our law enforcement agents safer. It’s an election-year tactic intended to distract attention — and, as a result — has deflected critical resources from fulfilling what remains my top priority at the Department of Justice: Protecting the American people.

Simply put, any claims that the Justice Department has been unresponsive to requests for information are untrue. From the beginning, Chairman Issa and certain members of the Committee have made unsubstantiated allegations first, then scrambled for facts to try to justify them later. That might make for good political theater, but it does little to uncover the truth or address the problems associated with this operation and prior ones dating back to the previous Administration.

I have spent most of my career in law enforcement and worked closely with brave agents who put their lives on the line every day. I know the sacrifices they make, so as soon as allegations of gunwalking came to my attention – and well before Chairman Issa expressed any interest in this issue — I ordered the practice stopped. I made necessary personnel changes in the Department’s leadership and instituted policy changes to ensure better oversight of significant investigations. And, I directed the Department’s Inspector General to open a comprehensive investigation. That investigation is ongoing, and the American people and Congress can count on it to produce a tough, independent review of the facts.

When Chairman Issa later began his own investigation, I made it clear that the Department would cooperate with all appropriate oversight requests, while still adhering to our legal obligations to protect information involving ongoing law enforcement investigations, legally-protected grand jury material and other sensitive information whose disclosure would endanger the American people or our agents investigating open cases.

The American people deserve better. That is why, I will remain focused on, and committed to, the Justice Department’s mission to protect the rights, safety, and best interests of my fellow citizens and to stand by my brave colleagues in law enforcement.

In other news, Congressional Republicans advanced exactly zero bills to create jobs or ease the tax burdens on the middle class. You know, priorities.

Related Stories:

Executive Privilege In ‘Fast And Furious’ Probe Should Come As No Surprise

5 Things To Know About The Republican Witchhunt Against Attorney General Holder

Photo from ryanjreilly via flickr.


JH Mccallum
JH M4 years ago

Sandra W,
Ira L is a great example of our points being valid, isn't he? "Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain", as Toto revealed the charlatan Wizard!

I also like the one about the politician who wrote in the margin of his speech, "Bang hard on podium here--point is weak."

Not a single fact offered in rebuttal. Deflect, Deflect, Deflect.

Sandra, Obama-gate is here!

Ira L.
Ellie L4 years ago

JHM & SandraW's rhetoric is straight out of the Fox playbook. Pay them no mind as they give themselves a good time, while most Americans know the truth. And that is that Issa (pig) is hell-bent on getting rid of Holder because he is going after teatard/republiKKKlan "Voter Suppression" and other despicable agendas that badly hurt the Middle Class and favor the 1%. We pray this backfires on the racist, bigot, hateful Issa who belongs in jail for his criminal past.
OBAMA 2012!!!!

JH Mccallum
JH M4 years ago

You're pretty cool. Thanks for continuing to spread the truth here on C2, where deflecting is often the order of the day!
Pelosi is also guilty of unethical insider stock trading, based on knowledge she obtained from Washington politicians (exposed on 60 Minutes). She's such a great poster child for radical liberalism--she might just be the GOP's greatest weapon!
She, just like the scapegoaters found in abundance on C2, will deflect from this any way they can--from the "Blame Bush--he started it" mantra (for a different program he ran to expose drug cartel--not at all part of Fast & Furious), to "Oh, but the GOP is worse because..." deflections. (You know... "two wrongs make a right".)
The facts remain. Holder admitted to lying via his retraction of his statement to Congress. He originally offered up the same documents now halted by Obama under "Executive Privilege", Too many potholes, Obama! Ah, the game's afoot!!!!

Christine C.
Christine C4 years ago


Sandra W.
Sandra W4 years ago

Pelosi is the dumbest ass of all in congress. She and Mr. Reid didn't do their jobs and never passed a budget. She never read the health care plan. If she is the best that the democrats in the house have to offer, that is sad. it is time she went out to pasture....or maybe retire to her 10K a night hotel room. Now that woman is in touch with us regular people....what bull. You just can't fix stupid and she is as stupid as they get.

Gayle R.
Gayle R4 years ago

Pelosi may be right that this is payback for Holder’s voter protection efforts, along with the obvious Republicon's attempt to undermine Obama in every way they can think of.

Donald T.
Donald T4 years ago

despicable, of course, they would not hold Anthony (Albert? I forget) Gonzalez' feet to the fire for anything anytime. while they have disavowed the simpleton king george 2, at the time he had (near) carte blanche. one of the biggies georgie wanted was the tax cuts, which congress was not giving him, so he invoked reconciliation in 2001 & 2003 for the maximum 10 years each and fed us the BS about his buddies and pals having even more money to hire more people and give more benefits, at a time when the exponential outsourcing was racing ahead. but they got richer.

Sandra W.
Sandra W4 years ago


Sandra W.
Sandra W4 years ago

I can’t wait for that investigation and I sadly wonder how many more people have to die as a result of the incompetence of this administration. And someone mentioned Watergate. Well, in this case, the cover-up is not going to be worse. Bad? Yes, but people died and hundreds of them in this program. How can the cover-up be worse than this? So we have Obama invoking presidential privilege in an effort to advance the cover-up of these murders. And the writer of this article has the audacity to say “In other news, Congressional Republicans advanced exactly zero bills to create jobs or ease the tax burdens on the middle class. You know, priorities.” Just where in the hell has this administration and the Senate been for this entire term??? Just WHAT bills have they advanced? The writer of this article is so biased that she forgets that the Democrats held all three houses for 2 years and made such a mess that the house went republican. The American people are fed up with this blame game. Obama seems to get things passed that he wants to or he issues executive orders when he finds it convenient. Too damn bad for the poor that he can’t pass anything to create jobs or improve the state of our economy. And where is the highest unemployment? Well, it’s amongst young black people. There is a movie Runaway Slaves coming out and all black people need to see this. I wonder of those that do, how many will continue to support the destructive liberal a

Sandra W.
Sandra W4 years ago

Well, it was nice to see a lot of intelligent posts on this article today. I sent many green stars to those such as Woody W, Bill R, Bruce K, Mark K, Mary L, Rob D, Phil A and JH M. Steve R would have gotten one, but I sent one to him this week already. Kudos to all for your posts. So, the writer of this article seems to be offended by Holder or should I say WITHHolder being called a liar. In his own words in this article, he says…..”as soon as allegations of gunwalking came to my attention – and well before Chairman Issa expressed any interest in this issue — I ordered the practice stopped.” Gee, I thought he told Congress that he was not aware of F&F. Just how did he stop something that he was not aware of????? A year and a half later and the American people deserve the truth. Just WHO authorized this? Do you honestly believe that Holder and Obama don’t know? Come the hell on. In my opinion, not knowing is reason enough to throw them out of their offices, but I don’t believe that for a minute. So Holder wants to negotiate. This is not a trinket at a straw market. He wants Issa to agree not to proceed with contempt without seeing documents. What is he......nuts? Sounds like another you have to pass it to know what’s in it piece of BS. Just why is Obama not upset by this? Well, I guess it’s because he’s not upset about national security issues being made public either. I can’t wait for that investi