The House just voted 255-67 to find Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt over the Fast and Furious gun smuggling scandal.
The vote was bipartisan, with 17 Democrats joining Republicans to vote for the resolution against Holder.
The vote took place after more than an hour of floor debates, as Democrats accused Republicans of shameless partisanship and political theatrics. When debates ended, the bulk of House Democrats staged a walk out of the role call vote, with Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Minority Whip Steny Hoyer leading the charge.
Pelosi is now spearheading a press conference on the steps of the Capitol Building, blasting Republicans for their “trumped up charges” against Holder. She has accused Republicans of fabricating the charges against Holder as retaliation for pushing back against voter I.D. laws.
In reality, the contempt vote is over Holder’s refusal to turn over documents related to the botched Fast & Furious gunrunning operation.
Here’s our guide to the scandal >
UPDATE, 5:00 p.m.:
In a statement sent out shortly after the vote, senior White House Communications Director Dan Pfieffer slammed Republicans for “political theatrics”:
At the beginning of this year, Republicans announced one of their top priorities was to investigate the Administration and to ensure that President Obama was a one-term President. Despite the major economic challenges facing the country, they talked openly about devoting taxpayer-funded, Congressional oversight resources to political purposes.
The problem of gunwalking was a field-driven tactic that dated back to the George W. Bush Administration, and it was this Administration’s Attorney General who ended it. Attorney General Holder has said repeatedly that fighting criminal activity along the Southwest Border – including the illegal trafficking of guns to Mexico has been is a top priority of the Department. Eric Holder has been an excellent Attorney General and just yesterday the Chairman of the House Oversight Committee acknowledged that he had no evidence – or even the suspicion – that the Attorney General knew of the misguided tactics used in this operation.
Yet, Republicans pushed for political theatre rather than legitimate Congressional oversight. Over the past fourteen months, the Justice Department accommodated Congressional investigators, producing 7,600 pages of documents, and testifying at eleven Congressional hearings. In an act of good faith, this week the Administration made an additional offer which would have resulted in the Committee getting unprecedented access to documents dispelling any notion of an intent to mislead. But unfortunately, a politically-motivated agenda prevailed and instead of engaging with the President in efforts to create jobs and grow the economy, today we saw the House of Representatives perform a transparently political stunt.
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