NRA pressure could push some Dems to vote contempt for Holder
June 26th, 2012
05:07 PM ET
2 years ago

NRA pressure could push some Dems to vote contempt for Holder

Washington (CNN) – The number two Democrat in the House signaled on Tuesday that some Democrats could join with Republicans to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress later this week, citing pressure from the National Rifle Association.

Republicans on the House Oversight Committee approved a resolution last week holding Holder in contempt for failing to release documents related to the committee's investigation of the failed gun trafficking operation known as "Fast and Furious." The full House is scheduled to vote on the measure Thursday.

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Some gun rights advocates, including the NRA, maintain that the program that allowed hundreds of weapons, including assault rifles, to go across the border into Mexico was a way for the Obama Administration to press for new gun control laws. Oversight Chairman Darrell Issa said on Sunday he had emails showing the administration planned to point to the operation and push for a "weapons ban or greater reporting."

When asked in his weekly session with reporters to give an estimate of how many Democrats might defect on the vote, Rep Steny Hoyer, D-Maryland, replied "I can't."

Hoyer immediately pointed out that the NRA has "weighed in on this issue" and acknowledged "there are some members who will consider the recommendations of the NRA."

"Whether they think those recommendations are founded or not I don't know at this point," Hoyer added.

Democratic leaders are urging rank and file members to stick together and oppose the resolution, according to a senior House Democratic aide. The vote in the committee last week was a party line vote, but that came before the gun lobby formally registered its support for the contempt resolution. Rarely has any pro-gun rights Democrat representing a rural and southern district broken with the NRA's position on key votes, especially in an election year.

The NRA's Executive Director Chris Cox sent a letter to Issa after the committee vote last week supporting his efforts. In the letter Cox writes, "It's no secret that the NRA does not admire Attorney General Holder," adding, "for years we have pointed out his history of anti-Second Amendment advocacy and enforcement actions."

"The reason we support the contempt resolution is the same reason we first called for Attorney General Holder's resignation more than a year ago; the Department's obstruction of congressional oversight of a program that costs lives in support of an anti-gun agenda," the letter explains.

The NRA, which frequently weighs in on congressional races with endorsements and a national grassroots network, also put members on notice that anyone who votes against contempt could face consequences in the fall election. "This is an issue of utmost seriousness and the NRA will consider this vote in our future candidate evaluations."

The top Democrat on the Oversight Committee, Maryland Rep Elijah Cummings, pushed back at Chairman Issa's claim that he had evidence that Operation Fast and Furious was an effort to push for a ban on assault weapons.

"I don't believe that, and I think it's very unfortunate that people are coming up with these theories," Cummings told reporters Tuesday.

Hoyer challenged Issa to produce evidence that linked the failed gun walking program to an effort by the administration to press new gun laws. He also chastised the GOP for moving ahead with the full floor vote on Thursday, calling it "an inevitable conclusion that the rush to judgment, the rush to consideration is again the choosing of confrontation over consensus in the resolution of issues."

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Filed under: Congress • Eric Holder • NRA
soundoff (303 Responses)
  1. Sam

    Why don't we just let the NRA run the government? I guess if they own enough members of Congress, they basically are!

    June 26, 2012 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  2. DrPete

    Now if only we could get the GOP more interested in ending the wars that have sent thousands of Americans to their grave, or permanently disfigured them.

    June 26, 2012 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  3. John

    thousands of guns, not hundreds. Fact check time

    June 26, 2012 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  4. Oscar

    Everyone's obsessed with politics and apparently indifferent to Officer Terry's family. Stonewalling an investigation is not right, it's cruel and insensitive. Mr. Granderson says "what about Reagan, what about Bush, leave Holder and Obama alone," but the past has nothing to do with the ongoing "Fast & Furious" investigation. Holder/Obama should be open and honest and give Officer Terry's family closure. Shame on Mr. Granderson for not helping the powerless family, but instead supporting the political machinery standing between them and the answers they seek.

    June 26, 2012 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  5. kelf62

    Proof that this country is bought. We should throw them all out and start over.

    June 26, 2012 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  6. eviltaxpayer

    The list of defectors from obama are piling up! Racist holder needs to be gone and we need to expose the scandal all the way to obama the arrogant dictator.

    June 26, 2012 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  7. mike

    Wow, Members of Congress voting across party lines, and for the TRUTH! There has to be a first time for everything.

    June 26, 2012 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  8. NameMr

    Obama =failure. Holder too

    June 26, 2012 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  9. indie52

    You lie about a war that killed tens of thousands of innocent lives and out a CIA agent and not a slap of the hand. Someone dies from a program your party started and you hold the new administration in contempt. Wow really, how do you say America we don't care about you we are going to spend our term trying to discredit the other person so maybe no one will look behind the curtain.

    June 26, 2012 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  10. Vijay

    Republicans wasting time in this, instead of creating jobs. All the republicans talk about where are jobs? actually they would be able to create many jobs between now on. But all they care about to defeat Obama. Darrell Issa was asked question in fox news channel on Sunday, about this F & F, what he replied that he doesn't have any evidence for contempt of court on Eric Holder and Obama. He is purely un-american who always want his buddies (Koch Brothers, Karl Rove, Sheldon Adelson) to be happy. He killed USPS. I don't know why senate and house is not repealing the law created by him. All he want to distract senate and house bringing up false charges against democrats and Obama. He is wasting 10 million who doesn't have job. Democrats have chance to tell about this false charges and bringing Women's fairness act, transportation bill, we have 4 days only to vote for student loan program and many more. Republicans want to divide this country and conquer again and will increase debt 10 fold.

    June 26, 2012 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  11. opinion8it

    I like seeing republicans beg...

    so go ahead and beg....

    especially begging from Holder... I love that one the best

    June 26, 2012 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  12. Bob

    Wow, funny I'm aligning with the NRA on something. Nail Holder to the wall.

    June 26, 2012 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  13. danthefisherman

    Holder is an out and out criminal and should be treated as such.

    June 26, 2012 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  14. Sagebrush Shorty

    CNN just loves to blame the NRA for everything. Holder is at fault,period.

    June 26, 2012 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  15. aMom

    Dude is going down.

    June 26, 2012 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  16. Tommy

    It's only 'Guns don't kill people, people kill people' when it fits the republicans AGENDA. An agent dies in the defense of his country and the 'FREEDOM isn't FREE' rhetoric is mysteriously SILENT. AGENDA, AGENDA, AGENDA. Brought to you by the one party anti-government GOVERNMENT.

    June 26, 2012 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  17. mac101

    Chances are the NRA is upset because they didn't get a chance to grab all those guns for themselves. Wouldn't be a bit surprised if they secretly found a way to sabotage the entire mission, for their own radical purposes.

    People don't shoot rabid dogs, guns shoot rabid dogs.

    June 26, 2012 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  18. 0rangeW3dge

    "...was a way for the Obama Administration to press for new gun control laws..." ?????

    The argument against "Obama" just gets weirder and weirder.
    Convoluted ill-logic has become the order of the day for those trying to explain why the Tanman shouldn't be re-elected.
    Although it's not surprising to see mass hysteria in a mob, it is somewhat of a phenomenon for people to choose their President this way.

    June 26, 2012 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  19. Jaun in El Paso

    Wonder how many dems are thinking that this issue could be the difference in if they return in 2013. The sooner this issue is resolved the sooner the voters will forget about it. Holder and Obama are doing more damage to the electability of congressional dems than the GOP challengers.

    June 26, 2012 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  20. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    If any of these "Democrats" cave to the right wing, and fail to support their party and their President, I will personally contribute and work toward having them voted out of office.

    June 26, 2012 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  21. Jeeper

    If guns are outlawed, only Holder will have (and sell) guns!

    June 26, 2012 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  22. clarke

    The arms trade business is big business, just google it and see just how long this has been going on. This is nothing new and it is not the first time this has happened. There is lots of interesting stuff out there to get you all up in arms. If it weren't an election year this would not be news at all. I am not saying I approve mind you, but people have very short memories.

    June 26, 2012 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  23. markiejoe

    Meanwhile, would the NRA like to pay the costs of fighting the massive wildfires out West that were caused by their members shooting at firing ranges?

    June 26, 2012 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  24. Former Republican

    Once again, the Dems show why they lose elections...they don't have the stones to circle around their wagons and defend themselves like to GOP does. Sad

    June 26, 2012 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  25. DaveL

    Get rid of blue dog dems, they are of no value. Don't support the DCCC or the DSCC, they'll give your donation to people like these.

    June 26, 2012 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
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