The House today declared that Eric Holder was in contempt of Congress for failing to turn over documents related to the Fast and Furious scandal, reports Politico. It’s a first for a sitting attorney general, and the matter now goes to DC’s federal attorney to determine whether to press criminal charges, explains theWashington Post. The vote was 255-67, with 17 Democrats joining Republicans. A separate civil contempt charge allows the House to go to court to try to get the documents, notes AP. During the vote, members of the Congressional Black Caucus and other Democrats walked out in protest.
Afterward, Holder dismissed the move as “politically motivated.” Here’s a sample of the partisan slogging leading up to the vote, via the Hill:
- Republicans: “He’s the gatekeeper here, and if he won’t give us the information this institution needs to do our … constitutional duty, then we will use every legal and constitutional tool that we have to get to it,” said Rep. Rich Nugent of Florida.
- Democrats: “When the history of this despicable proceeding is recorded, it will be said that your actions were politically motivated to discredit and defeat a president,” said Rep. GK Butterfield of North Carolina.
- Moot point? One columnist thinks John Boehner scheduled the vote on a busy news day because he knows the scandal is going nowhere.