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. Bryan

    The NRA is a laughable organization...a bunch of rednecks, hicks, and morons....I've got no time for them.

    June 26, 2012 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  2. Dave NY USA

    Wow, if that isn't a wheel coming off Obarry's wagon, I don;t know what is.

    June 26, 2012 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  3. jimmy

    Forget about Holder.Obama is the number one enemy of this country.Eliminate him in November and solve the problem.He goes and all his "hoodies"go with him.

    June 26, 2012 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  4. Bill Carney

    This story clearly demonstrates how special interest money perverts the US Legislative process. In a related note, the Supreme Court's ruling in "Citizens United" guarantees that the corruption in Washington continues.

    June 26, 2012 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  5. Gregg

    Chuck Heston will always be my President.

    June 26, 2012 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  6. redman71786

    The NRA is a dangerous rouge organization.

    June 26, 2012 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  7. reallymyfellowreps

    As a Republician, even I can conclude that this program started under Bush. And didn't Issa say (on Fox News) that he has no and there are no evidence being involved?

    June 26, 2012 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  8. NJBob

    I am a progressive, but I have a hard time supporting weak Democrats who seem to have no principles or political courage. At least Republicans are principled even though they are anti-social psychopaths.

    June 26, 2012 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  9. Copper's Donut Shoppe

    any house member who admits to voting based on pressure by a lobby group should be immediately be impeached.

    June 26, 2012 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  10. max3333444555

    contempt is contempt regardless of party affiliation.

    June 26, 2012 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  11. VastandCurious

    Has a reporter even asked President Obama about this case yet? Is there any evidence that any reporter anywhere is directly asking President Obama to reveal his role in this case?

    June 26, 2012 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  12. Gurgyl

    Ban guns...

    June 26, 2012 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  13. redman71786

    "How fortunate for governments that the people they administer don't think." – Adolf Hitler

    June 26, 2012 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  14. NauticalMan

    Irregardless of any weapons lost through this botched operation, it is a drop in the bucket compared to those that are bought legally, many without records at gun shows in border states. Funny the NRA does not protest these loopholes...

    June 26, 2012 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  15. Keeping it Real

    The idea of executive privilege extending to Holder only raises serious questions as to the involvement of Obama and statements that he made denying any knowledge of the program back in June of 2011. It's sad that the administration cares so little for the lives that were lost under their watch.

    For those still trying to deflect the blame back to Bush, to be factual, Fast and Furious did not exist under the Bush administration. Operation Wide Receiver, was similar, but with important differences. It was done with the full cooperation of the Mexican government and weapons were marked and efforts were made to track them to the drug cartels. Neither of these were done under Obama's Fast and Furious. The Bush administration deemed this tactic a failure. So why would Obama think it was a good idea after knowing the results of a similar attempt? This was extremely poor judgement on Obama's part.

    June 26, 2012 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  16. Jorge Mendoza

    Why is it that we allow Big companies and Groups to hijack our future. This is crazy that we think that we live in the land of the free, It looks like the land of the 1% who dominate the rest.

    June 26, 2012 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  17. JerPell

    The largest army in the world are the deer hunters in America...
    There are 700,000 deer hunters and it is said that the average hunter owns 8 firearms,
    this is 700,000 deer hunters just in the state of Michigan.
    It would be a lot easier instead of trying to outlaw guns for honest gun owners, make it illegal to own a gun if your a criminal! Judging by the number of deer hunters just in that one state, firearms for the good people are here to stay!

    June 26, 2012 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  18. Mollybee

    It is absolutely outrageous that the NRA can write a letter or make a phone call and dictate how a Rep or Senator will place a vote. Not only are they trying to dictate the actions of the elected representatives of the people, they are attempting to exert influence in a matter in which they have NO business. The American people should be outraged both at the NRA and the sniveling cowards that would buckle at the mention of the NRA.

    June 26, 2012 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  19. reallymyfellowreps

    Sorry left out the words- no evidence, 'the administration was involved'

    June 26, 2012 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  20. OPEN400

    Absolutely unbelievable. I have come to the conclusion that our country is becoming ungovernable. This stupid sting operation started in the Bush administration!!! Obama inherited this mess – just like the all the other messes that Obama inherited from Bush. Sure they are concerned about the fire arms. A single sheriff in a little town in Texas shows up to a drug crime shoot out all by himself with an itty-bitty 22 caliber pistol and the drug runners have military automatic weapons throwing out a murderous hail of gun fire. Why should we not be concerned how easy it is for a drug runner or for that matter a terrorist to access military weapon this easily? The Second Amendment was not designed so that drug lords can legally build an army. How stupid and absurd are we becoming as a nation? How are we ever going to return to sensible law and order when the kings of the NRA run our gun laws in the name of profit for the gun industry? Do you need a machine gun to hun? O-o-o-p-p-p-p-s. I forgot: Guns don’t kill people. Criminals kill people.

    June 26, 2012 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  21. Michael

    Those Democrats that vote with the GOP on this issue need to watch their own backs with Democratic voters.

    June 26, 2012 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  22. Mike

    The NRA is the worlds most offensive union. While they don't control wages, they have a stronger influence than any other union around. They want protection under the first amendmant yet have no problem changing others. They say guns don't kill, people do. They are the peopel who promote violence by letting anyone who wants to own a gun to be able to do so. They will be accountable when their day of judgement arrrives.

    June 26, 2012 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  23. The Voice of Reason

    Okay, now we're getting somewhere. CNN has kept its audience in the dark, so let me update you even further.

    This whole investigation is to verify political reasons behind Fast and Furious. Someone authorized ATF to contact a gun dealer to sell over 1400 military rifles to known Mexican drug cartels in hopes that they would be involved in a turf war with another drug cartel, resulting in mass killings. It is believed that such issues would lead to banning sales of those firearms in the U.S. Unfortunately, an American agent, Brian Terry, was killed with one of those rifles. ATF could not keep track of the rifles since they did not put any tracking devices on them. The investigation is to reveal the mastermind of this political plan. Holder appears to be covering up the identify of the person who authorized Fast and Furious. Following standard operating procedure of distract and blame, Holder points to regional ATF, again, not identifying the person who authorized Fast and Furious. It is believed that higher ups in the Justice Department authorized Fast and Furious. This is why the NRA has an interest in this investigation.

    June 26, 2012 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  24. joet

    Fast and Furious was a mistake. This is a political circus. High unemployment, out of control banks, no money for infrastructure, no education funding and these clowns are chasing the Attorney General. Great job folks, I hope all the individuals out of work remember Beoner and his friends in November.

    June 26, 2012 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  25. inewt

    The picture with this story shows congress as a field of red pansies. What are you trying to say CNN?

    House of reprehensitives voting holder in contempt is something they should know about since they are all in contempt of honesty, ethics,good judgement and a sense of justice. Anyway with the president citing executive privilege there is nothing Holder can do even if he wanted to so voting him in contempt is worthless, wasted stage business, which sadly is congress's greatest skill.

    June 26, 2012 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
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