Labrador, Simpson Join House Majority to Hold Eric Holder in Contempt


Idaho Republican Congressmen Raul Labrador and Mike Simpson joined 253 other members of the U.S. House of Representatives this afternoon to cite Attorney General Eric Holder for contempt of Congress. The vote was 255-67.

Holder said in a statement that the vote "is the regrettable culmination of what became a misguided—and politically motivated—investigation during an election year."

A criminal contempt resolution will send the case to the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia. A civil contempt resolution will allow the House to sue Holder.

The contempt citation was over Holder's refusal to turn over documents related to the federal gun operation known as Fast and Furious. This is the first time a sitting Cabinet member has been held in contempt by either chamber of Congress and will escalate the standoff between President Obama's administration and Republican lawmakers.

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, led by Chairman Darrell Issa, sought emails and memos from the Justice Department showing its internal debate over the botched gunrunning investigation that led to U.S. agents losing track of hundreds of illegal guns in Mexico, which were meant to help track arms dealers.

President Obama invoked executive privilege last week, backing Holder's decision not to release the documents.