Former White House aide Karl Rove.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Members of the Senate Judiciary Committee voted Thursday in favor of handing out contempt citations to a former and current White House official for failing to comply with subpoenas issued in the investigation into the firings of eight U.S. attorneys last year.
The committee voted 11-7 to cite White House Chief of Staff Josh Bolten for refusing to hand over documents related to the firings and to cite former White House adviser Karl Rove for refusing to testify and hand over internal documents.
The recommendation will move to the Senate floor for a vote.
A White House spokesman dismissed the initiative as "politics."
The move marks the first time the Senate committee has voted for a contempt of Congress citation against anyone in the investigation into the firings. The House Judiciary Committee voted in July to recommend that Congress issue contempt citations to Bolten and former White House counsel Harriet Myers.
Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vermont, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, ruled last month that Bolten and Rove must testify before the panel and produce documents related to the firings.
In his blistering ruling, Leahy said that because the committee's investigation had found "significant and uncontroverted evidence that the president had no involvement in these firings," the White House can't claim executive privilege or immunity, which are meant to protect private communications between a president and White House aides.
The Bush administration has insisted that the firing of the attorneys was handled properly, but critics have charged that they were forced out because of political reactions to their decisions about what cases to pursue and, in one case, to allow a protege of White House political guru Rove to take one of the posts.
Though U.S. attorneys are political appointees who serve at the pleasure of the president, the Justice Department's initial characterization of the dismissals as "performance-related" triggered angry protests from the ex-prosecutors.
– CNN Producer Terry Frieden