House is Frantic as Vote on Contempt Looms
The Justice Department and White House mounted a huge effort behind the scenes Wednesday to bolster the opposition of the Democrats to a resolution of contempt against Eric Holder the Attorney General. However, House Republicans appear to have sufficient support for the vote to win in the House. Leaders for the Democrats in the House found through a head count that 20 to 30 of their party members were likely to support the resolution, mainly due to the support by the National Rifle Association of it. The NRA is very powerful and believes the President wants to use the scandal to place stricter laws on gun control, a claim the President and his administration have categorically denied.
A sitting attorney general in the U.S. has never before been held in contempt and the vote comes during the heat of this year’s presidential campaign, a time when Congress has been more polarized that every before some say.
Holder has not turned over all of the documents the congressional investigators have requested in the probe. At the urging of the Attorney General, Obama asserted his executive privilege on a certain number of the documents, which succeeded to further infuriate the Republican lawmakers. The House Speaker has scheduled two votes on the contempt resolutions for Thursday; one is criminal and the other civil.
If the vote passes the entire House, it is uncertain what will follow. The NRA’s decision to enter into the contempt fight has a number of vulnerable Democrats intimidated into supporting the measure.