House panel backs contempt for Holder, Issa says floor vote can still be avoidedJune 24, 2012
A House panel voted Wednesday in favor of holding Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress, a move that inflamed partisan rancor on Capitol Hill and sets up the possibility of legal action against the attorney general himself.
Holder has not yet been formally held in contempt of Congress. The full House would still need to approve the resolution in order for that to happen -- Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., afterward told Fox News that such a floor vote can still be avoided.
But the 23-17 party-line vote on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee marked a significant turn in lawmakers' 16-month investigation into the botched anti-gunrunning operation Fast and Furious. With the vote, Republicans on the committee signaled they had exhausted all other means to extract sought-after documents from the Justice Department -- though Democrats had insisted there was still an opportunity to sort out the mess without a contempt vote.
"We and the American people need answers sooner, not later," said Issa, chairman of the committee.
GOP House leadership has given Issa the green light to proceed how he sees fit, sources told Fox News, which suggests the vote would reach the House floor.
Issa pressed ahead with the vote Wednesday despite an eleventh-hour move by President Obama to assert executive privilege over the Fast and Furious documents at the heart of the dispute.
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Posted by Ken at 4:50 AM