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. arkieron

    Imagine a bipartisan approach to contempt of Congress. The President should have welcomed this hearing. Investigating the murder of a federal officer should not be subject to politics as usual. Transparency was the term the President used when he ran for office. Now if only Romney will quit blowing political smoke and tell us what he actually do to replace Obama care. My guess is nothing.

    June 26, 2012 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  2. John John

    Of course the fact that the NRA is full of it, and ROMNEY has passes gun control legislation and Obama has not, isn't taken into consideration. Bush era mistakes continue to be GOP talking points and that is all this is. The whole idea here is to try and develop confusing topics for commercial sound bites that will be used in October for the elections. If contempt of Congress was that important, most of the nation would be held for it!
    Lets make a big deal out of nothing, just because the NRA members were told to write all the congressmen!

    June 26, 2012 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  3. Jules

    To Shaken and Stirred – there is no conscience in Washington. The decision of the SCOTUS that corporations are people will eventually lead to the wealthy controlling counties, courtrooms, states and the entire federal government – and then there will be another revolution. Watch all those wealthy GOP opt for gun control then. Fortunately for me, I'll probably be dead when that happens, but I do hope my sons will be part of the resistence.

    June 26, 2012 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  4. jay

    its like whenever a dem is to blame the gop try to burn them at the stake. but when george bush was caught dumping 800,000 grand in stock right before that company reported 13 million in losses. thats illegal if i remember. but somehow, even today, that is kept quiet.

    i am calling the kettle black.

    June 26, 2012 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  5. Face

    The NRA is doing all kinds of weird stuff in different states. They tried to let kids go to school with concealed weapons here in AZ... Maybe we should start considering the NRA to be a terror organization.

    June 26, 2012 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  6. Rob in MO

    The NRA knows that innocent blood is all over its hands on this one and is desperate to control the narrative.

    June 26, 2012 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  7. anon

    Obama is more criminal than Bush ever was. Obama has also had more women and children killed by drone strikes than Bush did in 8 years. GG.

    June 26, 2012 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  8. Meki60

    Holder is a criminal

    June 26, 2012 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  9. Face

    I am so happy I live in a country where our laws are dictated by corporations and their profiteers.

    June 26, 2012 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  10. Meki60

    Holder and Obama are equal criminals

    June 26, 2012 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  11. JohnBorg

    My father was signed up with the NRA in 2008. I enjoyed reading their political propaganda that was sent in the mail. "Obama wants to ban hunting" read one. They also tried to make "slippery slope" arguments – "first rifles, then bows?" Where the hell do they get this stuff? Its absurd. Really. Someone needs to tell NRA supporters that no one is going to take their guns unless they've done something idiotic with a gun before or desire a machine gun.

    June 26, 2012 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  12. Unit34AHunter

    I'm a member of the NRA and a resident of AZ. I am glad the NRA are representing my opinion and bringing pressure to bear on Congress. Holder should be held in contempt because his actions are worthy of contempt and contrary to the sort of openness that a functioning republic needs. He should be held in contempt, and impeachment proceedings should be held.

    June 26, 2012 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  13. Dave - Phx

    These congressmen are traitors. They were elected to represent the people, not special interest business groups.

    June 26, 2012 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  14. Thomas

    NRA pressure could push some Dems to vote contempt for Holder !
    Presser , sounds more like BLACK MAIL !

    When a gun lobby is more powerful then the education lobby , bad thing happen !

    June 26, 2012 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  15. Nodack

    "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."

    Bush murdered 200,000 in Iraq. He went to war for no reason based on his lies and fabrications going against a UN vote of no. There were no Pich forks even though he intentionally killed hundreds of thousands of people. You guys fond out it was all lies and instead of punishing him you re-elected him. You guys didn't care that hundreds of thousands were intentionally murdered by your leader. You didn't care that 5000 Americans were killed as a result. You didn't care that we spent $1,000,000,000,000.00 on it. Now you are upset that a border patrol agent was killed by a Cartel member.

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

    Holder's Contempt of Congress is not a Partisan Issue.

    Holder is in Contempt of THE PEOPLE's HOUSE !

    Holder is in Contempt of the AMERICAN PEOPLE.

    We are AMERICANS before we are Democrats or Republican.

    June 26, 2012 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  17. Bob

    "If Bush's administration had been caught running a similar operation"

    Uh, they started it, you obvioulsy have NOT been paying attention.

    Terry would have been killed with or without F&F guns involved (and they were NOT used in his murder), this is simply Issa trying to find ANYTHING to pin on the Obama administration.

    A total and complete waste of time by a hyper-partisan hack with no credibility at all.

    Holder should tell him to STUFF his faux contempt.

    June 26, 2012 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  18. Mario

    AGAIN this program started under Bush now Obama and Holder have to clean this mess up

    June 26, 2012 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  19. MBSeattle

    Let pressure the NRA since our gutless congressmen/women can n't.
    We are being held at gun point not by the first amendment but by the likes of Smith and Wesson and their board of directors. We sell our freedoms to cheaply.

    June 26, 2012 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  20. LIes

    "Do you have any evidence? Fox
    Answer: "No we don't" Issa

    Stop drinking the Fox Cool-Aid...even Fox News said no evidence.

    June 26, 2012 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  21. Andrew DeJong

    I'm so sick of you brainwashed people out there. I don't care what side of the political spectrum you are on you have to stop believing everything the Media tells you. Fast and Furious was not started under Bush, it was started under Obama. Bush had a program similar to it but with one big difference. They let the Mexican government know what they were doing. Whoever started Fast and Furious decided to keep the Mexicans in the dark and the biggest fear of this administration is that the American and Mexican public find out who thought that it was a smart idea to sell guns to Mexican gangs and not inform the Mexican government of your intent while at the same time losing track of what you were supposed to be tracking. Left wing nut jobs quit trying to deflect blame from your King Barry Soetero's administration.

    June 26, 2012 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  22. wade

    You would think that the death of a border agent, 4,800 Mexicans slaughtered with Holders Guns would be enough but i guess since they have no conscious or heart you have to hit them where it hurts. VOTES.

    June 26, 2012 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  23. Larry L


    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.
    The Republicans filibustered – like they've done 137 times. Five Democrats voted against breaking the filibuster and the Republicans once again blocked all progress. Get your facts straight you Fox News drone.

    June 26, 2012 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  24. kevin

    Because of pressure from the NRA? Nice. If only the average american citizen had that much influence

    June 26, 2012 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  25. Tom

    So the NRA is upset because guns were moving too freely. Yeah.

    I remember that the NRA used to have billboards up in and around Buffalo "warning" cross-border traffic that their liberties would be severely curtailed once they crossed the Niagara River.

    Looks like the foot is on the other shoe now.

    No. Wait. Something didn't sound right just then.

    Oh well - CNN allows people who come up with incredibly clever ways of spelling Obama, or Democrat, or Republican to post. Any minor goof on my part should be just fine, then. Maybe.

    June 26, 2012 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
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