By Teresa Welsh |
Last week, the House of Representatives voted 255 to 67 to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt for his refusal to turn over certain documents that members say are key to the investigation of gun-walking scandal Fast and Furious. Some 100 House Democrats, led by former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Minority Whip Steny Hoyer held a press conference outside the Capitol during the vote in protest of what Hoyer called "the political motivations behind this resolution." Inside however, 17 Democrats crossed party lines to hold a sitting attorney general in contempt for the first time in history.
Eric Holder has faced criticism for months for his involvement with "Fast and Furious," an ill-fated Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms operation that is reported to have put 2,000 guns into the hands of Mexican drug dealers in the name of tracking the cartels. The operation spiraled out of control, costing the life of at least one American patrol agent, Brian Terry.
The House Oversight Committee recently subpoenaed the Justice Department for thousands of pages of documents. When Holder refused to turn them all over, President Obama claimed executive privilege to relieve Holder of the subpoena, leading some to claim there was an administration cover-up of the scandal. The White House dismissed such claims and said the vote was "political theater" and "an action taken by Congress that does not respond to the most urgent priorities." Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, the California Republican who has led the campaign against Holder, defended the vote, saying, "We want to have resolution for the Terry family,"
Was the House right to hold Eric Holder in contempt? Here is the Debate Club's take:
Judson Phillips Founder of Tea Party Nation
Chris Cox Executive Director of the National Rifle Association's Institute for Legislative Action
Adam Schiff Democratic U.S. Representative from California
Hilary O. Shelton Vice President of Policy and Advocacy for the NAACP