Seventeen Democrats voted with 238 Republicans to hold Eric Holder in
contempt for failing to produce documents associated with the deadly and
ill-advised Operation Fast and Furious Program on Thursday. Though it has always been a scandal, the mainstream media finally realized that this was an actual story last week, when President Obama opted to invoke "presidential privilege" in a seemingly stunning overreach of his power, adding to the speculation.
Conspiracy theories have been running rampant. Why would the Operation not use tracking devices? Who knows about this program and who authorized it? Why were Mexican authorities not involved? Was Operation Fast and Furious serving as a mechanism in which an assault weapons ban can be justified? Was the President involved?
The investigation by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee led by House Republican Darrell Issa has been going on for 16 months, with little satisfaction.
As reported by the Examiner, Darrell Issa stated after the vote,
"Today, a bipartisan majority of the House of Representatives voted to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt for his continued refusal to produce relevant documents in the investigation of Operation Fast and Furious. This was not the outcome I had sought and it could have been avoided had Attorney General Holder actually produced the subpoenaed documents he said he could provide."
Congressman Trey Gowdy (R-SC) has been particularly vocal throughout these
hearings. After the vote he said, "We are right to pursue this and we are wrong if we settle for anything less than the facts."
Rep. Jason Altmire, D-Pa., Rep. John Barrow, D-Ga., Rep. Dan Boren, D-Okla.,
Rep. Leonard Boswell, D-Iowa, Rep. Ben Chandler, D-Ky., Rep. Mark Critz, D-Pa., Rep. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., Rep. Kathy Hochul, D-N.Y., Rep. Ron Kind, D-Wis., Rep. Larry Kissell, D-N.C., Rep. Jim Matheson, D-Utah, Rep. Mike McIntyre, D-N.C., Rep. Bill Owens, D-N.Y., Rep. Collin Peterson, D-Minn., Rep. Nick Rahall, D-W.Va., Rep. Mike Ross, D-Ark., Rep. Tim Walz, D-Minn.
Two Republicans voted against contempt: Rep. Steve LaTourette, R-Ohio and Rep. Scott Rigell, R-Va.
The Associated Press released an article that insinuates that the breaking Democrats were somehow doing so at the insistence of the National Rifle Association, "The National Rifle Association pressed hard for the contempt resolution, leaning on members of both parties who want to stay in the NRA's good graces."
The article scathingly reports, "For the past year and a half, some
Republicans have promoted the idea that Holder and other top-level officials at
the Justice Department knew federal agents in Operation Fast and Furious had
engaged in gun-walking," perhaps there would be no need for speculation had the subpoenaed documents been produced.
The family of slain Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry released a 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." Hopefully, this bitter partisanship will end soon, and answers will be forthcoming.