The U.S. House of Representatives made U.S. history today – holding Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress for his refusal to turn over tens of thousands of documents related to the “Fast & Furious” gunrunning scandal.
In a vote late this afternoon, Holder became the first sitting Cabinet member to ever be found in contempt.
Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi led 108 Democrats as they skipped the vote and angrily left the chamber in protest.
Pelosi declared, “Just when you think you have seen it all. Just when you think they couldn’t possibly go any further over the edge, they come up with something like this. What is happening here is shameful.”
On the floor Rep. Dennis Ross, R-Fla., blasted Democrats, saying, “The attorney general can stonewall all he wants. He can misremember all he wants. But today responsibility will land on his desk.”
The measure passed 255-67. One member voted “present,” and the 17 Democrats who remained voted to hold Holder in contempt of Congress. However, two Republicans, Ohio Rep. Steven LaTourette and Virginia Rep. Scott Rigell opposed the resolution.
Just last week , President Obama claimed executive privilege to prevent release of the documents.
The Washington Times reported that Democrats tried to slow the investigation, accusing the oversight committee, led by Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., of doing a sloppy inquiry.
Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas., put forward a resolution demand Rep. Issa be reprimanded by the House for partisanship and for having “engaged in a witch hunt.”
“No Justice Department is above the law, and no Justice Department is above the Constitution,” said House Speaker John A. Boehner, Ohio Republican, according to the report.
Rep. Emanuel Cleaver II, D-Mo., told the Los Angeles Times: “We are non-participants in what we believe to be a calamity. This is a terrible day for the House of Representatives. We did not want to participate in something that had some kind of a smell to it.”
Meanwhile, Holder stood beside a photo of President Obama and rebelliously declared that he would not back down from his job and indicated that he would not provide the missing documents, according to the report.
Holder called the vote “good political theater” and “at base, a crass effort and a grave disservice to the American people.”
He said, “Today’s vote is the regrettable culmination of what became a misguided and politically motivated investigation during an election year.”
But Republicans noted that Holder has defied a valid subpoena for more than eight months and it is time to hold the administration accountable.
Issa stood beside a photo of Brian Terry, the Border Patrol agent killed during the Obama administration’s gunwalking operation, and reminded lawmakers of the human cost.
As WND recently reported, the White House appeared to have forgotten the slain agent’s name during a press briefing.
Upon word that the Supreme Court upheld Obamacare today, Robert Heyer, chairman of the Brian Terry Foundation and cousin to the slain agent, released the following statement:
The Terry family takes no pleasure in the contempt vote against Attorney General Eric Holder. Such a vote should not have been necessary. The Justice Department should have released the documents related to Fast and Furious months ago.
Eric Holder’s refusal to do so and President Obama’s assertion of executive privilege have stood in the way of justice and the answers we seek into the death of fallen Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry.
Given the Obama administration’s steadfast refusal to level with the American people, Congress was left with no choice but to vote Mr. Holder in contempt.