House votes to hold attorney general in contempt


Associated Press

Posted on June 28, 2012 at 9:30 PM

Updated Friday, Jun 29 at 7:02 AM

WASHINGTON (AP) — Attorney General Eric Holder has a place in history, the first Cabinet member held in contempt of Congress.

But Holder says it's nothing more than "political theater."

The rebuke was pushed by House Republicans who had demanded that Holder hand over all documents, without exception, related to a failed gun-tracking operation.

The vote was mostly along party lines with more than 100 Democrats boycotting. African-American lawmakers led a walkout to protest the action against Holder, the nation's first black attorney general. Two Republicans, Scott Rigell of Virginia and Steven LaTourette of Ohio, voted with the minority. Seventeen Democrats, all with high ratings from the National Rifle Association, voted with Republicans. The NRA had demanded a vote against Holder.

Republicans asserted their right to obtain documents needed for an investigation of Operation Fast and Furious. But in the debate, Rep. Jackie Speier of California, called the contempt effort "Fast and foolish."


%@AP Links

370-a-13-(Congressman Emanuel Cleaver, D-Mo., chairman, Congressional Black Caucus, at news conference)-"in this skunk-tivity"-Missouri Congressman Emanuel Cleaver, who chairs the Congressional Black Caucus, says he and other caucus members boycotted the vote against Attorney General Eric Holder. (28 Jun 2012)

<<CUT *370 (06/28/12)>> 00:13 "in this skunk-tivity"

368-a-04-(House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., at news conference)-"thing to do"-House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi says GOP lawmakers are playing politics with Attorney General Eric Holder. (28 Jun 2012)

<<CUT *368 (06/28/12)>> 00:04 "thing to do"

369-a-16-(Congressman Steny Hoyer, D-Md., House Minority Whip, at news conference)-"shame on you (2nd reference)"-House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer says the action against the attorney general doesn't sit well with voters who are angry over the gridlock in Congress. (28 Jun 2012)

<<CUT *369 (06/28/12)>> 00:16 "shame on you (2nd reference)"

371-a-15-(Congressman Raul Grijalva (rah-OOL' gree-HAHL'-vah), D-Ariz., co-chair Congressional Progressive Caucus, at news conference)-"in this country"-Arizona Congressman Raul Grijalva says the congressional investigation of Attorney General Eric Holder isn't really about getting answers about the death of Border Patrol agent Brian Terry in a December 2010 shootout with Mexican bandits weilding two guns from the Fast and Furious program. (28 Jun 2012)

<<CUT *371 (06/28/12)>> 00:15 "in this country"

338-c-23-(Jerry Bodlander, AP correspondent)-"from the group"-AP correspondent Jerry Bodlander reports a majority of Democrats walked out when it came time to vote on the first contempt resolution. (28 Jun 2012)

<<CUT *338 (06/28/12)>> 00:23 "from the group"

340-a-12-(Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., during debate)-"unusually ugly politics"-Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney says the contempt citations are over the top. (28 Jun 2012)

<<CUT *340 (06/28/12)>> 00:12 "unusually ugly politics"

337-c-27-(Jerry Bodlander, AP correspondent)-"transparently political stunt"-AP correspondent Jerry Bodlander reports the votes were unprecedented. (28 Jun 2012)

<<CUT *337 (06/28/12)>> 00:27 "transparently political stunt"

339-a-06-(House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, during debate)-"above the Constitution"-House Speaker John Boehner says the House was justified in approving the contempt resolutions. (28 Jun 2012)

<<CUT *339 (06/28/12)>> 00:06 "above the Constitution"

336-w-36-(Jerry Bodlander, AP correspondent, with Attorney General Eric Holder)--The House has voted to hold the attorney general in contempt. AP correspondent Jerry Bodlander reports. (28 Jun 2012)

<<CUT *336 (06/28/12)>> 00:36

APPHOTO DCJM305: From left, Rep. Terri Sewell, D-Ala., Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of Calif., Rep. Bobby Rush, D-Ill., Rep. Eliot Engel, D-N.Y., Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill., and other House Democrats leave Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, June 28, 2012, in protest of a House vote holding Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin) (28 Jun 2012)

<<APPHOTO DCJM305 (06/28/12)>>

APPHOTO LAWH102: Attorney General Eric Holder speaks during a news conference in New Orleans, Thursday, June 28, 2012. The Obama administration and House Republicans refused to find a middle ground in a dispute over documents related to a botched gun-tracking operation, and the GOP plunged ahead with plans for precedent-setting votes Thursday to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in civil and criminal contempt o Congress. (AP Photo/Bill Haber) (28 Jun 2012)

<<APPHOTO LAWH102 (06/28/12)>>