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. Edward

    I love the paranoid delusions of the NRA. They are convinced that Obama is going to get rid of the guns and their proof of that is that he hasn't done it yet. Priceless!

    June 26, 2012 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  2. vic , nashville ,tn

    NRA and CCA more power than congress

    June 26, 2012 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  3. David


    What the he!! is this? OUR government is OWNED by LOBBIES???

    This stupid Fast and Stupid program started with Bush. Darrel "I want the white guys to think I'm down with them" Issa is pushing to find a way to hold the black attorney general in contempt. Why? Because god darn it if black people finally get those racist abuses curtailed by strong federal prosecution on civil rights, it will be the end of the white hegemony on this country.

    Issa is a shame. And any democrat that votes for contempt should be exiled from the Democratic Caucaus. Finally, no democrat should vote for such a turncoat.

    But most importantly, Obama should appoint the heck out of the judiciary and appoint another BLACK Attorney general. These racist Republicans are so slick... as long as they don't mention "race" they can go on political lynchings of every black person in Obama's cabinet. Because for them it's beyond them that so many black people are in KEY positions.

    June 26, 2012 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  4. Bob

    Time to investigate the NRA for the terrorist-enabling anti-American orginization it clearly is.

    June 26, 2012 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  5. b0bc@t

    I love the spin that this is a witch hunt. Requests for information go back to last February, and yet it is "an election year ploy", not a downright refusal to answer to the responsible "Oversight Committee". This is designed to keep the branches of government in check with the laws of our country, but for Mr. Holder, it is just "political theater". How nice that Mr. Holder is "willing" to make conceessions and give a "qualified summary of the program", so long as they promise to take his word for all the information he provides, and promise to end their search, and promise not to hold him in contempt. Nice to answer a subpoena with your own set of demands, and feel that you are above the nuissance of accountability. It's good to be king, at least until the castle is stormed by the masses who deserve answers. FESS UP!

    If he was forthright from the beginning, this issue would be long put to rest, but instead, it strangles our government.

    June 26, 2012 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  6. Chris

    Oh yeah, definitely due to the NRA, and not that a year ago 31 Democrats demanded Obama tell Holder to cough up the truth. I guess we have to keep up the image that this is an election year witch hunt, can't let decent reporting get in the way of that!

    June 26, 2012 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  7. cobra129

    Yes, it would be nice to be on the side of the rule of law and hopefully some truth seeking Dems will vote for contempt.......but sadly all too many will be providing cover for this criminal in an especially tight election year.....the he !! with Brian Terry's murder and the criminal activity that led to it, its for the good of the party and obama re-election.

    June 26, 2012 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  8. Not Likely

    Nice of the NRA to expose what this incident is really about: pushing a conspiracy theory to gin up votes in an election year since Obama has done nothing to restrict gun rights. Holder is just a puppet for them.

    June 26, 2012 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  9. Rachel

    The rats are bailing the ship.

    June 26, 2012 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  10. Darbel

    The democrats need to remain in line .

    June 26, 2012 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  11. fred37ify

    Holder holds American citizens in contmpt ! Time for him and Barrack to pack it in !

    June 26, 2012 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  12. Mark

    The contempt vote is a show. If Holder is found in contempt, then it gets referred to the US Attorney for the District of Columbia..., who works for Holder. The DOJ isn't going to prosecute their boss using prosecutorial discretion and even if they did he would pay the $1000 fine, flip Congress the bird while he's doing it, and be done with it.

    While the House Sergeant at Arms could, theoretically attempt to arrest the Attorney General himself and imprison him in the Capitol, he has no power to issue an arrest warrant compelling other law enforcement agencies to arrest without..., wait for it, the DOJ doing it for him. The Sergeant at Arms of the House of Representatives has no jurisdiction beyond the US Capitol and without DOJ or DHS support, he won't be arresting anyone outside of the Capitol. Mr. Holder would simply have to stay out of the Capitol building and he will be fine. It's a dead end and will show the impotence of Congress.

    June 26, 2012 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  13. karen

    Obama has no choice, either Holder leaves or they both leave.

    June 26, 2012 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  14. The King

    This Holder/fast and furious thing is nothing more than the GOP fanning the toxic air of the right wing delusional bubble into reality. This is all a part of a vast conspiracy to.. TAKE AWAY YOUR GUNS!!!!!!!! {Insert E flat organ chord here}

    June 26, 2012 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  15. dave

    I can guarentee Obama and his minions of lawyers and czars were going to use this as a means to enact gun control. Hell look how they tried to use the EPA to ban lead bullets. Hiolder and Obama both hate the second amendment and will do all they can in a second term to water it down or eliminate it all together. Just look what gun control did for Chicago and you will see how wrong headed this crowd is.

    June 26, 2012 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  16. Ken Margo

    Typical lack of balls by democrats. If the democrats had onions, they could run the country forever. People that want reasonable gun control need to make some noise like those ignorant tea party members and force congressmen to stand up to the NRA.

    June 26, 2012 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  17. Mike

    Has it occurred to anyone, ANYONE, that AG Holder is, indeed, guilt of Contempt of Congress? The issue is NOT Dem vs. Repub. It is about the way that our government works. Not only should Congressional Democrats be outraged, they should be standing in line waiting to vote against the AG. To take a partisan stand on this is ludicrous and anybody who dares to make this a political matter certainly does not belong in the U.S. Congress. Yet, people wonder why Congress can get nothing done...

    June 26, 2012 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  18. dan

    The issue shouldn't be about GUI. Laws, should be about guns we supplied used for murder, and then tried to cover it up. This is bigger than article makes it, people were killed by these guns, and Holder doesn't think its a big deal?

    June 26, 2012 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  19. DE

    This is something repugs would never do, join in a vote against anothe repug.

    June 26, 2012 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  20. DJ

    Holder is a liar and crrook, that works for another crook. He should be removed from office and brought up on charges.

    June 26, 2012 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  21. Send in the clowns.

    It is sincerely funny that the Democrats posting here, have no trouble with the Obama admin admittedly (in emails) putting guns in the hands of criminals and getting Americans killed in order to drive their anti 2nd amendment agenda. Disgraceful the hypocracy. If this was a Republican admin, they would be screaming for blood.

    June 26, 2012 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  22. Jeeper

    It would go along way with both parties to throw Holder in a cell with Sandusky.

    June 26, 2012 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  23. Andy

    Fast and Furious was started by the Bush Administration. Lets get that clear. Google Gun Running. Someone dropped the ball but why even start this program to begin with. Why doesn't Issa confront the previous administration as well to ask about such risky operations? And to the democrats with no spine, please leave the party and go to the GOP.

    June 26, 2012 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  24. Name

    Guns, drugs and Democrats...oh my! Can we talk more about our weak, but recovering, economy? Romney for 2012!!!

    June 26, 2012 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  25. Cathy

    So now this is a some new GOP conspiracy theory about gun rights? How far will these right wing nut jobs sink?

    June 26, 2012 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
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