The House Oversight Committee has found Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress over his refusal to turn over documents related to the Fast and Furious gun-running scandal.
The 23-17 vote fell along party lines, and took place after hours of debate over Holder and his involvement in Operation Fast and Furious, an Arizona gunrunning operation in which U.S. agents allowed thousands of guns to “walk” across the Mexican border.
The vote comes on the same day that President Barack Obama asserted executive privilege over the Fast and Furious documents, a surprise move that conservatives say confirms their suspicions that the Obama administration is covering up its involvement in the botched gunrunning operation.
House Oversight Chair Darrell Issa, who has been at the centre of the Fast and Furious firestorm, announced Wednesday afternoon that the contempt resolution has now been sent to the full House of Representatives.
UPDATE, 4:40 p.m.: Almost immediately after the House Oversight vote, House Republican leadership have announced that the full House will vote next on whether to hold Holder in contempt.
Here’s the joint statement from House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA):
“Despite being given multiple opportunities to provide the documents necessary for Congress’ investigation into Fast and Furious, Attorney General Holder continues to stonewall. Today, the Administration took the extraordinary step of exerting executive privilege over documents that the Attorney General had already agreed to provide to Congress. Fast and Furious was a reckless operation that led to the death of an American border agent, and the American people deserve to know the facts to ensure that nothing like this ever happens again. While we had hoped it would not come to this, unless the Attorney General reevaluates his choice and supplies the promised documents, the House will vote to hold him in contempt next week. If, however, Attorney General Holder produces these documents prior to the scheduled vote, we will give the Oversight Committee an opportunity to review in hopes of resolving this issue.”
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