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    Not above the law: Holder first U.S. Attorney General to be voted in Contempt of Congress

    Not above the law: Holder first U.S. Attorney General to be voted in Contempt of Congress

    This afternoon the full U.S. House of Representatives voted 255 to 67 to hold U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder in criminal contempt of Congress for failure to turn over specific documents. Eric Holder is now the first U.S. attorney general to be held in contempt of Congress in the history of the United States.

    17 Democrats joined Republicans in voting for contempt. One member voted present, and 110 members did not vote.

    The House votes on two separate items:

    • 1: Whether to hold Holder in contempt and then refer him to the DOJ [passed 255 to 67; 17 Democrats voted yes]
    • 2: Authorization to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee to sue the DOJ in federal court [passed 258 to 95; 2 Republicans voted no]

    The congressman representing the district of the family of murdered border agent Brian Terry, Rep. John Dingell (D-MI), indicated he would vote against contempt.

    In remarks prior to the vote, Rep. Issa (R-CA) said to Rep. Dingell: “When you say you represent Brian Terry, you do not.” Issa then read a statement from the Brian Terry family, which said that the only time they had heard from Dingell was one condolence letter.

    Many democrats joined the Congressional Black Caucus in walking out of the proceedings during the vote.

    UPDATE: Eric Holder issued a statement in reaction to the contempt vote, invoking Brian Terry’s name:

    Today’s vote is the regrettable culmination of what became a misguided – and politically motivated – investigation during an election year.   By advancing it over the past year and a half, Congressman Issa and others have focused on politics over public safety.   Instead of trying to correct the problems that led to a series of flawed law enforcement operations, and instead of helping us find ways to better protect the brave law enforcement officers, like Agent Brian Terry, who keep us safe – they have led us to this unnecessary and unwarranted outcome….

     

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    barbara | June 28, 2012 at 11:16 pm

    The House is late to the party – I’ve held Holder in contempt for years. 🙁


     
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    walls | June 29, 2012 at 1:18 am

    So the Congressional Black Circus walked out? HA HA HA HA HA

    […] As if that wasn’t shameful enough: The congressman representing the district of the family of murdered border agent Brian Terry, Rep. John Dingell (D-MI), indicated he would vote against contempt. […]

    In the midst of a fiery floor debate over contempt proceedings for Attorney General Eric Holder, House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) quietly dropped a bombshell letter into the Congressional Record.

    The May 24 letter to Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), ranking member on the panel, quotes from and describes in detail a secret wiretap application that has become a point of debate in the GOP’s “Fast and Furious” gun-walking probe.

    The wiretap applications are under court seal, and releasing such information to the public would ordinarily be illegal. But Issa appears to be protected by the Speech or Debate Clause in the Constitution, which offers immunity for Congressional speech, especially on a chamber’s floor.

    From the Congressional Record:

    From the beginning, ATF was transparent about its strategy. An internal ATF briefing paper used in preparation for the OCDETF application process explained as much:

    Currently our strategy is to allow the transfer of firearms to continue to take place, albeit at a much slower pace, in order to further the investigation and allow for the identification of co-conspirators who would continue to operate and illegally traffic firearms to Mexican DTOs which are perpetrating armed violence along the Southwest Border.


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