NRA pressure could push some Dems to vote contempt for Holder
June 26th, 2012
05:07 PM ET
6 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. skylark

    Guns are ony made for murder.
    What is with all the peanus envy?
    Gotta have it in your pocket or your hand all the time, huh?
    Don't worry. Nobody wants it.

    June 26, 2012 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  2. Nick

    Operation Wide Receiver (BUSH):
    1)Number of guns allowed to walk across the border = 0
    2)Attempt to track the weapons = YES
    3)Done with the knowledge and approval of Mexican authorities = YES
    4)Number of dead people = 0

    Operation Fast & Furious (OBAMA):
    1)Number of guns allowed to walk across the boarder = 2,000 + ?
    2)Attempt to track the weapons = NO
    3)Done with the knowledge and approval of Mexican authorities = NO
    4)Number of dead people = 300 + ?

    June 26, 2012 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  3. Senior Citizen

    More info about the NRA's pressure tactics: Do an Internet search on "NRA letter June 20, 2012" to read the NRA's letter for yourself.

    In plain English, the NRA promotes the paranoid lie that Fast & Furious is an attempt by the Obama Administration to escalate gun violence along the Mexican border to use as an excuse to take away Americans' guns. (No mention of similar programs started under GW Bush, or the FACT that the ONLY gun legislation signed by President Obama RELAXED gun restrictions by allowing concealed guns in National Parks.)

    June 26, 2012 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  4. corpsman

    The NRA is the country's biggest lobby. Worse than any union.

    June 26, 2012 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  5. IVOTE

    NRA has that much power? Hope those Dems in the NRA's pocket/wallet change parties ASAP...

    June 26, 2012 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  6. larry5

    Makes Watergate look like a walk in the park. The liberals can throw all the mud they like at Issa but the truth is going to finally be the end of Obama's administration. There are just too many lies and too many laws broken and too many people killed to continue. Those that throw the mud are just displaying the quality of their character and identifying themselves as one of Obama's sheep.

    June 26, 2012 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  7. puddintame1

    This country deserves better than this tripe. It was just a month ago this idiotic GOP was griping about leaks. Now they want to expose countless undercover ATF agents. It was a horrible disaster that this ATF agent was killed by one of these guns, but really? Would exposing other agents to the possibility of death, rectify his death? Issa had to admit this weekend that he and this commitee had NO proof that this administration tried to cover anything up. It's smear tactics that are unbecoming of the United States of America. I'm sick and tired of my tax dollars being spent on these convoluted witch hunts. This commitee has conducted 455 investigations and come up with ZILCH. ENOUGH! WE WANT JOBS!

    June 26, 2012 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  8. Bob

    NRA? The guy lied to congress. We must ALL fight corruption regardless if it this or missiles to Iran.

    June 26, 2012 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  9. zzzzz

    Obama's fault is he tried to be bi-partisan for a year, and got him nothing .
    Dean brought the party back in 2006-2008, with clear message, agenda and made Dems sticking together.
    They need hi m back as chairman.
    Dems can only blame themselves for loosing power. Voting to save your seat and not care about your principles makes them look like more and more like career politicians. NRA has scared them since Gore elections in 2000 . "Chickens!"

    June 26, 2012 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  10. Anonymous

    Where is the transparency this President promised me when I voted for him??? This story and the death of this agent is turning into Obamagate!! I did not elect him in a democracy to lead by executive orders and executive priviledge... that is not how a Democracyis run!! This issue stinks of criminal wrong doing at the highest level...It appears that Holder nd Obama allowed fast and furious to proceed hoping that it would end in disaster and it did.. the death of an American agent !!!.. The murder of an agent to make a political point!! Disgusting! It now clear Obama is going to protect his AG to conceal his agenda...SAD.. Americans should not loses sight that a man lost his life to prove a political point by this adminstration!

    June 26, 2012 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  11. JM

    The Bush Administration _started_ this program-I'll believe their interest is non-partisan when they subpoena those folks.

    June 26, 2012 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  12. qularknoo

    we are no longer a nation under the rule of law ... we are a nation subject to the whims of the moment by Congress and the President who will do anything to stay in power/office.

    June 26, 2012 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  13. Hawk in texas

    I see that thr n.r.a. is still running the republican party. not to mention that issa is a car thief. also what the n r a is saying is a lie to start with. every one of the hacks in washington need to be voted out of office. and elect someone that cares for the people and country.

    June 26, 2012 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  14. Bren

    OUCH!!!! This is going to hurt the credibility of Holder/Obama!! Even more voters--especially the Independents-–will begin to realize/think corruption, lies, etc. This is especially true being that Issa is going to have bipartisan support for the contempt charges!!! I cannot wait!!

    June 26, 2012 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  15. Mary

    Dems in congress are pathetic. DNC don't collect funds for their re-election. They can waive and not vote.

    June 26, 2012 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  16. Rob

    Politics aside. Holder is defying the law and for the good of the American people and needs to be held accountable regarless of which party is in office.

    June 26, 2012 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  17. Sue

    Personally, I love it when the Republicans are able to use Obama/liberal tactics to further destroy Obama's credibility and chances for reelection. My DVR is set to record, I cannot wait until Thursday. Obama will NOT be reelected!!

    June 26, 2012 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  18. Glen

    Yes the NRA, those pesky dead bodies, and dishonesty are all conspiring to make Holder look bad. Should never have signed on to Obama's "under the radar" gun control programs Eric.

    June 26, 2012 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  19. ilemona

    What you see here is the simple reason why democrats will continue to loose, they simply lack cohesion and the type of sense of purpose that republicans can muster over even the most ridiculous issues. There is no democrat party line, they act more like cats.

    June 26, 2012 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  20. Radgast

    I would think they should decide based on the facts, not pressure from any group, yes I was born yesterday

    June 26, 2012 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  21. Charleston

    For those who watch Fox News and will never hear this, Fast and Furious was started by the Bush administration. The Obama administration shut it down. The idea that the government was sending guns to increase violence in Mexico so they could impose gun controls in the US is ludicrious. It makes no sense and has no basis in fact. But because Obama actually expanded gun owners rights the NRA has to find something up to rile the ignorant troops. Thus the conspiracy theory. Issa is a clown running a cirus. But if you believed in death panels and birtherism it isn't a far stretch to think you would believe this too. How does it feel to be played as an idiot?

    June 26, 2012 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  22. ObamaWins

    Just look at Issa's record/background. This msn should be in prison for all the bad he has done with he and his brother!

    June 26, 2012 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  23. Steve Paradiso

    One the one hand, Holder needs to be held in contempt. On the other hand, the Dems are cowards for fear of campaign contributions drying up from the NRA.

    June 26, 2012 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  24. Suzyn

    When Holder had to testify months ago.....He is on video/record saying that Operation Wide Receiver and Fast and Furious were two different programs. Operation Wide Receiver was started by Bush-WITH the Mexican Govt's knowledge/approval. Fast and Furious was started by Obama-WITHOUT the knowledge/approval of the Mexican Govt. Cornyn and the Republicans were brilliant by getting Holder to testify that they were two different programs--just in case they tried to tie the two programs together (like they are doing now).

    June 26, 2012 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  25. Bruce

    They're bums on both sides of the isle. First you have Issa that stated that he would use his power to try to bring Obama down, so it's no surprise that he is dogging Holder. On the other side, you have the weenie Dems that cow-tow to the NRA so that they can get re-elected. The GOP is worse than the Dems, but not by much. They're all out for themselves.

    June 26, 2012 10:17 pm at 10:17 pm |
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