The US House of Representatives placed Obama's Attorney General, Eric Holder, in contempt of Congress by a 255-67 vote yesterday, for refusal to comply with a Congressional subpoena of documents related to "Operation Fast and Furious," an operation through which the US Bureau of of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, under Holder's Department of Justice, delivered hundreds, or more likely thousands of high-powered US assault weapons to the Mexican drug cartels, resulting in the deaths of one to two US law enforcement agents, and hundreds of Mexicans.
Seventeen Democrats voted in favor of a criminal contempt resolution. This Democratic support came despite a round of behind-the-scenes lobbying by senior White House and Justice officials — as well as pressure from party leaders including an Obama-dictated walkout from the House — all to support Holder.
Holder is the first Cabinet officer ever to be held in contempt of Congress in US history — but then, as Lyndon LaRouche said today, "no one ever deserved it more." Never has any Attorney General been so contemptuous of Congress, Rep. Labrador (R-ID) noted during the debate.
Only two Republicans voted "no" on the measure, while 65 Democrats recorded "no" votes and 108 Democrats didn't cast votes. Most of the latter had demonstratively walked out before the vote, on orders from the Democratic leadership.
Democrats voting for the resolution were Reps. Jason Altmire (Pa.), John Barrow (Ga.), Dan Boren (Okla.), Leonard Boswell (Iowa), Ben Chandler (Ky.), Mark Critz (Pa.), Joe Donnelly (Ind.), Kathy Hochul (N.Y.), Ron Kind (Wis.), Larry Kissell (N.C.), Jim Matheson (Utah), Mike McIntyre (N.C.), Bill Owens (N.Y.), Collin Peterson (Minn.), Nick Rahall (W.Va.), Mike Ross (Ark.), and Tim Walz (Minn.). Many of these are quite open about the fact that they totally hate and despise Obama — and rightly so!
House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) made a rare appearance on the floor to call for support for the resolution. "I don't take this matter lightly, and I frankly hoped it would never come to this," Boehner said about an hour before voting started. "But no Justice Department is above the law, and no Justice Department is above the Constitution, which each of us has sworn an oath to uphold," he said. "So I ask the members of this body to come together and to support this resolution," he said as reported by "The Hill."
After the vote, Rep. Darell Issa, the chairman of the House Oversight Committee which had issued the subpoenas to Holder and initiated the contempt resolution against him, issued this statement.
"Today, a bipartisan majority of the House of Representatives voted to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt for his continued refusal to produce relevant documents in the investigation of Operation Fast and Furious. This was not the outcome I had sought and it could have been avoided had Attorney General Holder actually produced the subpoenaed documents he said he could provide.
"The Congressional inquiry into Operation Fast and Furious, and the cover-up by Justice Department officials of wrongdoing, has been a fair and fact-based investigation. False and partisan allegations by the White House and some congressional Democrats about the Oversight Committee's efforts were undermined by the votes of 17 Democrats. These Members resisted the pressure of their own leadership and the Obama Administration to support this investigation on the House floor.
"Claims by the Justice Department that it has fully cooperated with this investigation fall at odds with its conduct: issuing false denials to Congress when senior officials clearly knew about gunwalking, directing witnesses not to answer entire categories of questions, retaliating against whistleblowers, and producing only 7,600 documents while withholding over 100,000.
"I greatly appreciate the ongoing efforts of Senator Chuck Grassley, his staff, and other Senators on the Judiciary Committee who have pressed the Obama Administration for the full truth. Senator Grassley began this investigation and has been a full partner throughout it. I must also recognize the hard work done by many of my colleagues here in the House — without their efforts the Justice Departments stonewalling would have succeeded.
"My message to my colleagues and others who have fought for answers: We are still fighting for the truth and accountability for the family of murdered Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry, for whistleblowers who have faced retaliation, and for countless victims of Operation Fast and Furious in Mexico. Unless President Obama relents to this bipartisan call for transparency and an end to the cover-up, our fight will move to the courts, where we will prevail in getting the documents that the Justice Department and President Obama's flawed assertion of executive privilege have denied the American people."