Rep. Fattah, Dems, To ‘Walk Out’ of Congress Over Holder Contempt Vote [UPDATED]
Today’s other big news is that Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives plan to hold a contempt vote against Attorney General Eric Holder over his withholding of documents related to the Fast and Furious ATF operation. And when they do, there’ll be few Democrats on hand to vote because of a move organized by the Congressional Black Caucus to walk out of the proceeding in protest.
Philly Rep. Chaka Fattah’s spokesman tells Philadelphia Weekly the representative will join his colleagues.
“Congressman Fattah will be standing with the Democratic Caucus and the Congressional Black Caucus which are intending to walk out and not vote on the contempt resolution itself, coming up later this afternoon,” says Ron Goldwyn, Fattah’s spokesman. Fattah is a member of the Congressional Black Caucus.
Democratic Reps. Jim Clyburn and John Lewis, two veteran black lawmakers and veterans of the Civil Rights Movement, gave impassioned speeches earlier this week in support of Holder and asked their colleagues to support the Attorney General. They believe the investigation into the Fast and Furious gunrunning operation is politically, perhaps racially, charged. As Rachel Maddow has repeatedly pointed out, many Republicans actually believe the Fast and Furious operation was supposed to go wrong in order to create a better argument against gun possession in the United States.
Fortune Magazine recently wrote that the ATF, which headed the operation, was “hobbled in its effort to stop” the flow of guns from the U.S. to Mexico by the National Rifle Association due to the NRA’s opposition of a comprehensive electronic database of gunsales in the U.S. As noted in a Republic Report article, the NRA is also spending money donating to candidates who say they’ll vote ‘yea’ on contempt. (A vote to move the vote forward was passed with 15 Democrats in favor)
As Steve Kornacki notes at Salon, the NRA has noted they’ll use today’s vote in its rating system for members of Congress because the operation was actually “a political attack on the 2nd Amendment and that the Justice Department facilitated a crime to further their gun control political agenda,” even there’s no evidence of any of this.
Nevertheless, the vote is expected to proceed, soon. As noted by Politico, “One of the resolutions calls for a criminal referral to the Justice Department against Holder for blocking the Fast and Furious probe. The other authorizes Issa’s panel to sue the Justice Department in federal court over documents that Holder has declined to provide to GOP investigators.”
Goldwyn tells us that after the general debate on the issue, “[Fattah] and other Dems are expected to vote Yes on a Dem proposal to drop the whole thing. Then will come one or maybe two contempt resolution votes which is when the walkout is anticipated.” Holder is the fist Attorney General in the history of the United States to possibly be subject to a contempt vote.
The Attorney General was in Philadelphia earlier this week to tout the COPS program, which will provide federal grant money to put more police on the streets of Philadelphia. During that announcement, at City Hall, several officials, including Rep. Fattah and Police Chief Charles Ramsey expressed support for Holder.
UPDATE: That shit happened. According to Think Progress, “Led by members of the Congressional Black Caucus, who originally planned a walk-out yesterday, most Democrats exited the chamber instead of voting to hold the Attorney General in contempt. Both House Minority Leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD) called for the walkout.”