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. DIANA

    And how is this going to help the economy? When will the Democrats learn from the Republicans – they stick together no matter how idiotic their ideas are.

    The public will remember who's side you were on come November.

    June 26, 2012 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  2. dsind

    nra "pressure" or "common sense" from the liberal confusion.

    June 26, 2012 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  3. OPEN400

    Holder has been making too many waves in Florida – where they want to take people off the the voter roles illegally in defiance of the Voter Act of 1964. This is just pay back to Holder. This absurd sting operation was started in the Bush adminstration. Why aren't any of the Bush people in front of the committee? Answer: Another Bush mess that Obama has to handle.

    June 26, 2012 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  4. Wiley Thruster

    The cracks are getting wider in the Democrat Party and Hope and Change is about ready to fall through the floor.

    June 26, 2012 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  5. steve

    Holder's been doing this for years. Google "patriot conspiracy" and see what you get.

    June 26, 2012 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  6. Carprin Rockville MD

    Any Democratic Congressman who votes for Contempt under Pressure from the NRA should be faced with a Primary Challenger. This is noy=thing but a Shake Down and a total Disrespect of the the Attorney General. Congressman Isa and his henchmen want to castrate the Black Man. Some 20 Years ago Judge Clarence Thomas called it " A High Tech Lynchi
    The Democratic Leadership in the House and the Attorney General need to stare down Mr isa and the Republicans and NOT Blink.
    The Republicans want to get Mr Holder out of the way because he is standing up to the States on the Voter ID Legislation.This is nothing but voter suppression . tactics which we have all seen before. In Ohio Sec of State Blackwell in 2004 used some of the same tactics and MANY VOTERS were not permitted to vote.
    Mr Holder MUST STAND HIS GROUND and not cave to the bullying tactics of Mr Isa snd the Republicans

    June 26, 2012 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  7. California Gary

    So the NRA is in favor of making guns as available as they can possibly be......but I thought the big uproar by the GOP on this was because we made guns available that ended up at a murder scene? The answer is to punish those that made them available, so that they won't be able to restrict guns from being even more available in the future? Am I the only one that sees this argument as "nuts"?

    June 26, 2012 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  8. JL

    We should totally let Holder off the hook for lying to Congress. We need to focus our efforts on more pressing issues like former baseball players taking performance enhancing drugs. Clemens got off the hook, but maybe we can still nail McGuire. Anything to take focus off of what a dirty, lying group of thug politicians we have in office right now.

    June 26, 2012 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  9. Tony

    i think a lot of you that are saying "vote with your conscience and not what people tell you to vote for" are kind of missing the whole point of democracy. we elect our leaders to represent the PEOPLE, not THEMSELVES. if a congressperson is voting with their CONSCIENCE and not voting based on what the people they represent want, then we're basically a dictatorship.

    Thankfully for you, none of our congresspeople (or any of our presidents) have said, "my conscience is telling me that i should take complete control of this country because what i say is right, and i don't care what the population says." and honestly, part of the reason no one has done this yet, is because of our right to bear arms. we'd do the exact same thing we did in 1775.

    I think you all underestimate the number of NRA members in this country, as well as underestimate the number of american citizens who recognize that the FIRST thing that fascists do is disarm their citizens, so the citizens can't do anything when the fascists decide to "lead with their conscience."

    June 26, 2012 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  10. Ricke1949

    The balance of power is always a shoving match. If you take one corner out of the triangle then you have a straight line to tyranny.

    June 26, 2012 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  11. Michele

    The names of those who are "citing pressure from the NRA" need to be published. The NRA should have absolutely nothing to say about anything in government and the public needs to know which sissies in Congress are afraid to stand up to Ted Nugent. ANYONE who "considers the recommendation" of the NRA is not fit to serve in Congress and should be subject to immediate recall. These people have admitted that they cannot be trusted to think independently and to vote for the good of the people and that they are afraid to stand up to pressure. No wonder we are the laughing stock of the world..

    June 26, 2012 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  12. Anonymous

    To John. Bush invaded Iraq under false pretenses and we'll be paying for that mistake for years to come. The current bill is about $1 trillion, thousands of lives lost and thousands more injured. F and F was a dumb move but is child's play compared to Iraq and then Afghanistan.

    June 26, 2012 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  13. DrInCA

    The NRA is paranoid. Guns killed people.

    June 26, 2012 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  14. les

    any dem who votes with republicans is a coward

    June 26, 2012 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  15. mfx3

    NRA...a proud tradition of educating the public on the safe use of firearms. A proud present and future of manipulating Congress.

    June 26, 2012 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  16. reggie1971

    I must say I find it a bit humorous to read comments about Democrats not sticking together on this issue, while Republican always stick together. Democrats have a long history of "circling the wagons" when one of their own is under investigation, while Republicans are more willing to subject one of their own to scrutiny. Watergate is a prime example of that. Another example would be the Bob Packwood scandal. You don't hear Republicans shout a knee-jerk WITCHHUNT! everytime one of their own is being investigated.

    June 26, 2012 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  17. CAL USA

    Does anyone seriously believe that the drug thugs who killed the US agent would have been unarmed if these particular weapons had not been in their hands? Does anyone seriously believe that the flood of guns that have killed thousands of Mexican citizens in the past few years have been acquired from any other source than the US? So instead of recognizing that we have a responsiblity to help a neighboring country protect its people and enforce their laws, we have the NRA and their congressional lackeys pushing a political agenda. I don't know if Attorney General Holder is in contempt of Congress, but I daresay millions of his fellow Americans certainly are.

    June 26, 2012 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  18. Scotsman

    Poor Issa, a sad lttle back-bencher who thought he was going to have to rely on killing the Post Office to upgrade his profile. But lo! Now he's got an AG to shoot at, and he's rallied the gun crowd with some specious theory about subverting the 2nd Amendment. Really had to torture logic to come up with THAT one, eh Darrell?

    June 26, 2012 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  19. dont be a sucker


    Democrats are responding to pressure from the NRA ? ? ?.


    That would mean that Dems get campaign contributions from them

    :looking around:


    ^inside a liberals head when the ugly reality sets in that their precious rep. have pulled the wool over their eyes^

    June 26, 2012 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  20. Jreekree

    Why is it news when the Democrats cross with the party leaders to do what's right?

    June 26, 2012 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  21. Rob Long

    Eric Holder has stated his position on Guns, he does not believe the 2nd Amendment guarantees Americans the right to bear arms.. He is a socialist and a communist like his boss. The only thing he has going for him is that he was actually born in the US so we cant deport him.

    June 26, 2012 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  22. independent

    Any Dem Congressman voting for contempt should not receive Potus assistance during their election, nor should they receive National Committee assistance. Sorry, it is time to get off the fence on this one.

    June 26, 2012 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  23. Detada

    Democrats have no backbones. It is sad how corporations and well funded organizations like the NRA have so much influence on government. If the NRA did a better job of policing gun sellers, Fast and Furious would not have been needed. Thousands of guns flow across the border to Mexico every month. In return, the NRA gets fatter and we get drugs.

    June 26, 2012 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  24. Phil Thomas

    The democrats are sad it's like the Harlem globetrotters vs Washington generals, the GOP being the globetrotters when you create an economic meltdown and get mad at the next guy for not fixing your mess in 3 years. I really hope people are smarter than this but there are no shortage of sheep waiting for false prophets like rush, the GOP lap sitter Hannity

    June 26, 2012 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  25. LuvMyCountry

    An open message to our wonderful president:
    There are many of us out here who abhor what Republicans and interest groups are trying to pull off in throwing contempt charges against Mr. Holder. Their lynch mob tactics against Eric Holder are totally transparent. The disrespect with which Rep. Issa treated Mr. Holder during the hearings was reprehensible. Unfortunately, most of us are not rich. While we contribute what we can to your election, we cannot buy it for you. But we are smart and we are perceptive. Take heart. We will be there for you through it all. Our country deserves wise leadership, not a mob of bullies.

    June 26, 2012 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
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