The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee voted Wednesday along party lines to hold U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt. The ruling stems from Holder’s decision to withhold documents related to the executive branch’s so-called “Fast and Furious” gun-trafficking operation. Vermont’s Congressman Peter Welch, is in the committee’s democratic minority, and he says he’s disappointed with the action. Welch says the committee’s investigation did not delve into the program’s roots in the Bush administration, and requested documents from Holder that would be illegal for the Attorney General to release.
“The committee was literally putting the attorney general in a bind where fidelity to his oath of office and to uphold the laws required him to say no, and then saying no, by adhering to the law, it was used by the committee to say that he was obstructing. So this has a political feel to it.”
Welch says the full house of representatives will now debate whether to uphold the committee’s action. He says a US attorney general has never before been held in contempt, but he thinks the Republican-controlled house could go forward with the ruling.