The Republican-led House of Representatives on Thursday voted to hold Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. in contempt for failing to disclose internal Justice Department documents in response to a subpoena. It was the first time in American history that Congress has imposed the sanction on a sitting member of a president’s cabinet.http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/29/us/politics/fast-and-furious-holder-contempt-citation-battle.html?pagewanted=all
The politically and constitutionally charged dispute centered on whether the Justice Department must turn over e-mails and memorandums showing its internal deliberations last year about the botched Arizona-based gunrunning investigation known as Operation Fast and Furious. President Obama has invoked executive privilege to block the subpoena.
The vote — 255 to 67, with one Democrat voting present — followed an acrimonious debate that played out hours after the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of Mr. Obama’s health care law, dashing the hopes of conservatives.
Scores of Democrats, accusing Republicans of abusing their power to engineer an election-year “partisan witch-hunt,” walked out of the chamber in protest and cast no votes, punctuating a day filled with bitter, sharp-edged rhetoric.
Representative Darrell Issa, Republican of California, who has led the House investigation into Fast and Furious, said the vote was necessary to hold Mr. Holder accountable for what he portrayed as “lies and a cover-up exclusively within his jurisdiction.”