House Panel Votes 23-17 to Place Holder in Contempt of Congress

Jordy Yager, The Hill, June 20, 2012

A House panel voted Wednesday to place Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress for his failure to comply with a subpoena, defying an assertion of executive privilege from President Obama.

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, led by Republican Chairman Darrell Issa (Calif.), approved a resolution along party lines to place Holder in contempt after battling him for months over access to internal agency documents about the gun-tracking operation known as “Fast and Furious.”

The vote came after Obama escalated the conflict by sending a letter to the committee claiming executive privilege over the documents the panel had sought.

All 23 Republicans on the committee voted for the contempt resolution, while all 17 Democrats voted against it. Every member of the panel was present for the vote.

Minutes after the panel’s decision, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) announced that the full House will vote on the contempt measure next week.

“While we had hoped it would not come to this, unless the attorney general reevaluates his choice and supplies the promised documents, the House will vote to hold him in contempt next week,” the Republican leaders said in a statement. “If, however, Attorney General Holder produces these documents prior to the scheduled vote, we will give the Oversight Committee an opportunity to review in hopes of resolving this issue.”

Holder blasted Issa in a statement following the vote while touting the efforts the DOJ has made to try and meet the chairman’s demands.


“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,” said Holder.


“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.”

Obama’s move to bring the Fast and Furious documents under executive privilege came just minutes before the panel began the contempt proceedings. In the letter announcing Obama’s decision, Deputy Attorney General James Cole argued DOJ has made “extraordinary efforts to accommodate the committee’s legitimate oversight interests.”

“The information provided to the Committee shows clearly that the Department leadership did not intend to mislead Congress in the February 4 letter or in any other statements concerning Fast and Furious,” Cole said in the letter.

Issa said the assertion of privilege by Obama fell short of any reason to delay the vote against Holder.


The high-stakes move against the attorney general came after talks to avoid the contempt vote fell apart Tuesday evening.

Holder attempted to exchange the requested documents for an agreement from Issa to drop his two subpoenas and the contempt measure. But the powerful Republican balked at anything short of a full document production while making no guarantees in return.

Issa wants documents that he says would show how much Justice knows about Fast and Furious, a controversial gun-tracking operation run by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). Holder has insisted he did not know of the operation.


“Until now, everyone believed that the decisions regarding Fast and Furious were confined to the Department of Justice,” Boehner spokesman Michael Steel said in a statement. “The White House decision to invoke executive privilege implies that White House officials were either involved in the Fast and Furious operation or the cover-up that followed. The administration has always insisted that wasn’t the case. Were they lying, or are they now bending the law to hide the truth?”


Even with 242 Republicans in the House majority, it remains unclear whether the contempt measure would have the backing of the full caucus. Many GOP members have resisted action on the Fast and Furious issue out of a desire to keep the 2012 election focus on the economy and jobs.


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  • B

    I thought Obama promised a transparent administration?

    • MekongDelta69

      Isn’t it a little hard to have a ‘transparent’ black administration?!
      😉  😉

    • Its racist to call a black a liar.


    Taking care of a bro….Right On

    • The__Bobster

      Oh, this scandal goes all the way to the top.

  • joewest666

    The fish rots from the head.

    The jugeared Kenyan head.

  • Watch obongo will pardon him.

  • Bon, From the Land of Babble

    I’ve held hOlder in contempt for years. My vote is to have him water boarded until he gives up the documents.

    I watched the proceedings this morning and I’ve never seen a display by Democrats before that was as ignorant of the facts, stupid and nasty. It was appalling.  

    The best part of the session was when the letter form Brian Terry’s family was read aloud for the record.  Hope they file a wrongful death suit ASAP.

    WASHINGTON—A House committee voted to sanction Attorney General Eric Holder with contempt of Congress, escalating a standoff between Republicans and the Obama administration over documents about a botched gun-trafficking operation.

    It was not a botched operation, the only thing that was botched is that they got caught.  What hOlder et. al did was intentional:  Arm a criminal military enemy in order to disarm law-abiding Americans and nullify the Second Amendment.

    Since we live in a banana republic now, I expect the the contempt citation to go nowhere.


    • “My vote is to have him water boarded until he gives up the documents.”

      We can just imagine what mischief this one and obama have been up to. A little forced confession might be good for their souls. 

  • JackKrak

    Once again, Democratic representatives can vote any way they want safe in the knowledge that the only thing they need to be reelected is to have the “D” by their names on the next ballot.

    Remember – Democrats don’t have voters, they have clients.

  • xxxtonygunsxxx

    white man attacked beaten by black female for no reason rus AND HE DOES NOT FIGHT BACK!!!!!!! VID

    • xxxtonygunsxxx


    • Bon, From the Land of Babble

      The link doesn’t work — message “This Video is Private.”  Can you re-post?  I’d like to take a look at this crime and get righteously mad this morning.


  • xxxtonygunsxxx

    sons of trayvon,r:7,s:24,i:230

  • After all this racist criminal has done, the vote was only 23 to 17 in favor of contempt. This shows how far gone this country is. The 17 who voted against contempt are enemies of this country and should be considered as such.

  • Did Obama pay attention to recent history?  When a President starts yammering about “executive privilege,” it doesn’t end well for him.

    If Issa has any sense, he will drag Obama to court to undo EP on these documents.  This will be this scandal’s Judge Sirica equivalent.