House Panel Holds Attorney General in Contempt of Congress

Posted June 20th, 2012 at 7:25 pm (UTC-5)
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A U.S. House panel has voted to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress for failing to turn over documents on a failed gun running scheme.

The panel voted along party lines Wednesday — with 23 Republicans voting for contempt and 17 Democrats opposing. The entire House of Representatives will take up the matter next week. But it is unlikely Holder will face any criminal charges.

The panel voted even after President Barack Obama invoked executive privilege — a rare presidential move intended to keep certain details on how an administration works from becoming public.

Democrats who opposed the contempt of Congress vote called it a political move intended to embarrass the president. Republicans say they belive the White House is withholding important information.

The contempt vote concerns a failed program known as “Fast and Furious,” in which federal agents allowed guns to be smuggled into Mexico in the hope that it would lead them to arms traffickers.

But U.S. agents lost track of the weapons and the scheme backfired, when two of the guns were used in the killing of a U.S. border agent.