(WASHINGTON) — The House of Representatives has voted in favor of a resolution to find Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress for withholding certain documents related to the Fast and Furious gun-walking operation.
Led by Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, 108 Democrats skipped the vote, storming out of the chamber in protest.
The measure passed 255-67, with one member voting “present.” Seventeen of the Democrats who didn’t walk out voted with the Republican majority to hold Holder in contempt of Congress. Two Republicans, Reps. Steven LaTourette of Ohio and Scott Rigell of Virginia, opposed the resolution.
The vote marks the first time in the history of Congress that it has found a sitting U.S. attorney general — our nation’s highest ranking law enforcement officer — in contempt of Congress.
Congressional GOP sources say the committee will now work with the House general counsel to pursue the case in federal court and ultimately compel Holder to hand over the documents.
“We are still fighting for the truth and accountability — for the family of murdered Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry, for whistleblowers who have faced retaliation, and for countless victims of Operation Fast and Furious in Mexico,” Rep. Darrell Issa, the chairman of the Oversight and Government Reform committee, said in a statement after the vote. “Unless President Obama relents to this bipartisan call for transparency and an end to the cover-up, our fight will move to the courts where we will prevail in getting the documents that the Justice Department and President Obama’s flawed assertion of executive privilege have denied the American people.”
Historically, contempt of Congress has been enforced by the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia, but sources predicted that path is unlikely this time since it concerns the attorney general, an unprecedented case of contempt of Congress.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Stephen Collinson, CNN
Aaron Smith and Evan Perez, CNM