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. 2020

    have those murdered bodies dumped on their desk

    June 26, 2012 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  2. davey

    Holder is a liability to Obama, the nation needs better.

    June 26, 2012 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  3. John

    Nice that Hoyer cites pressure from the NRA vs, ummm... the fact that Holder outright lied to Congress, on more than one occasion, during this investigation as the reason some Dems might vote to hold him in contempt. So much for Checks and Balances.

    What a joke.

    It amazes me that Dems continue to defend this crap. If Bush's administration had been caught running a similar operation, there would have been pitchforks and torches in the streets. And don't throw out Wide Receiver. That operation actually tracked the guns and had the full cooperation of the Mexican government. F&F did neither.

    ATF agents on the ground blew the whistle in the 1st place because they could see no legitimate law enforcement purpose being served by letting these guns go with no mechanism to track them. (Not to mention the mexican government being kept in the dark)

    To quote a popular liberal bumper sticker: If you're not outraged, you're not paying attention. (Or you're a partisan hack)

    June 26, 2012 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  4. Jonny Ryall

    And yet another example of why Democrats always lose the message battle. You have to give republicans credit, they always stick together ALWAYS. When are the dems going to learn.

    June 26, 2012 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
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    June 26, 2012 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  6. sirock

    Lets see obama proposed a budget before the Democratically controlled Senate and no one voted for it, zero zilch not a single vote in the Democratically controlled Senate I guess it's Bush's fault.

    June 26, 2012 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  7. george S

    Rep. Issa, like all GOP Congressional leaders, stated upon attaining his Chairmanship that he would without hesitation use his power against the Obama he has...big surprise!

    He is nothing but a political hack!...and that would be a complement

    June 26, 2012 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  8. James Reddick

    It's amazing how the GOP can stick together on all issue including making President Obama a one term president. But the Democratic Party is about as weak and worthless as one can be when it comes to supporting their party or President. This party has members that would rather not attend their own convention than be seen with their party leader, President Obama. I say send those pretenders over to Milt Romney and the GOP, because you are clearly not representing your party.

    June 26, 2012 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  9. Shaken and Stirrred

    Will congressmen of either party ever vote with their conscience instead of for special group interests, or along non-compromising party lines . Show some backbone gentlemen and ladies–you are the elected leaders of our country.

    June 26, 2012 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  10. Rick

    Wow, afraid of the NRA? What is this nation and our Congress coming too. Only Republicans sign pledges. They don't represent the people or voters. They represents the lobbyist, we all know that. I thought Democrats had higher standards. Afraid of the NRA, Nourquist, who else?

    June 26, 2012 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  11. Joe

    Good grief, what a bunch of cynical dopes commenting on here today. I guess we're all mistaken; Obama and Holder are saints and wouldn't dream of doing anything unethical, just ask them.

    What the NRA thinks is immaterial. Holder doesn't comply with congress so somehow it's the NRA behind it? The lesson here is don't lie to congress and do what they ask. If there's nothing to hide, then what's the problem?

    Oh yeah, maybe there really is a problem and it's not the NRA.

    June 26, 2012 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  12. WiredweirdinSF his boss, the most corrupt, inept, incompetent, union toady president we have ever had is absolutely beneath contempt. May they both eventually rot in jail.

    June 26, 2012 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  13. JimmyJam

    Just another example of the ARROGANCE associated with the Obama White House... He truly believes he is above the law..Very Sad indeed!

    June 26, 2012 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  14. Notabeliever

    Holder got what he wanted, he committed a crime to help push his agenda, he was caught, and now he has buffaloed all of you into believing this is about politics. Well, it's not about politics. Innocent people were killed and the losers that believe that this is only about politics are going to let Eric Holder walk. The point is Eric Holder put guns in the hands of criminals and innocent people were killed with those guns.......

    June 26, 2012 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  15. selfevolved

    And Democrats wonder why not even liberals will vote for them.

    June 26, 2012 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  16. TrueCitizen

    What CNN does not want you to know:

    The reason for Obama's assertion of executive privilege is a factor that so far very few have discussed. As an operation involving drug smuggling and gun trafficking, Fast and Furious was part of the internal Justice Department division known to insiders as "Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force" (OCDETF).

    The division is so important within the Justice Department that all of its operations must be overseen and approved directly by the Attorney General, with overall oversight provided by the President of the United States. Andrew McCarthy of National Review provides an in depth report on the manner in which OCDETF operates, the relevant point being that the administration's claim that the Fast and Furious scandal was a botched sting operation of local field agents out of the Phoenix office is completely ludicrous when viewed within the context of the OCDETF.

    These operations are invariably conducted by what is known as "main Justice" in Washington at the highest levels of government. Thus, there is no way in which Fast and Furious could have been conceived, planned, and implemented without the expressed knowledge and approval of the Attorney General in consultation with the President of the United States.

    And that explains Obama's assertion of executive privilege.

    June 26, 2012 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  17. Anonymous

    Anyone who doesn't have contempt for this congress hasn't been paying attention.

    June 26, 2012 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  18. Dave B

    So suddenly the NRA is concerned that GUNS actually DO kill people?? Interesting turn!

    June 26, 2012 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  19. tonyl

    This only means and proves that the congress is bought and paid by the special interests and does not represent people. Not a whole lot of people supporting NRA vote democratic regardless of the issue. There are a lot of racist connected to NRA and it is more a black issue to pass a contempt against the first black attorney general.

    June 26, 2012 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  20. O.T.

    I would hope Democrats would be good enough Americans to support a probe into a program that resulted in the deaths of U.S. federal agents and many others! Those who don't are just partisans.

    June 26, 2012 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  21. BO Failed

    Holder is a major detriment not only to justice but to all American citizens.

    June 26, 2012 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  22. Investment Advisor

    Fess up to it now Holder/Obama and history will be kind to you. Or stonewall and be a blemish to your administration that will haunt you and beyond.

    June 26, 2012 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  23. louie_freeno

    Holder lied...and Mexicans died...Where's the 1070 outrage?

    June 26, 2012 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  24. BO Failed

    What did Obama know and when did he know it?

    June 26, 2012 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  25. Dale

    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"".

    Obama administration they weren't counting on this happening.

    June 26, 2012 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
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