The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee voted along partisan lines to bring contempt charges against Attorney General Eric Holder June 20 by a vote of 23-17 in response to the Attorney General's refusal to conform with subpoenas related to the "Fast and Furious" gun-walking scandal. The Obama White House had claimed “executive privilege” over the documents earlier in the morning.
The documents relate to what top White House officials knew about the scandal that resulted in 2,000 weapons being given to Mexican drug gangs by Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms agents. Republicans assert that White House officials knew about the scandal, which resulted in the death of Border Patrol agent Brian Terry and several hundred Mexican police, politicians and civilians.
Incredibly, even after the Obama White House invoked executive privilege to prevent turning over the documents to the House committee, Democrats argued that the Obama administration was trying to fulfill the House subpoena. Ranking Democrat Elijah Cummings of Maryland told CBS News that the Obama Justice Department had made a “good faith offer,” but the offer was nothing more than an offer to turn over unspecified documents in exchange for the committee unconditionally dropping the contempt vote. Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Virginia) called the vote a “kangaroo court,” and called instead for gun control legislation against citizens (which is not the jurisdiction of the committee anyway).
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Photo: The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, led by Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif., right) considers whether to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress, on Capitol Hill in Washington, June 20, 2012. Rep. Elijah Cummings, (D-Md.) the ranking member, speaks at left: AP Images