Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, issued the following statement in response to the House of Representatives' unprecedented vote today to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress:
"This is a sad day for our democracy. Today's contempt vote against Attorney General Eric Holder is the culmination of one of the most highly politicized and reckless congressional investigations in decades. The Republicans' actions have undermined the standing of the House, cemented the Speaker's legacy as extreme, and will be recorded by history as a discredit to this institution."
During the Oversight Committee's year-and-a half investigation, Chairman Issa refused every single Democratic request for a witness. House Republican leaders rushed the contempt resolution to the floor only one week after it was voted out of committee. In contrast, in 2007, House Democratic leaders negotiated with the Bush Administration for six months to try to avoid contempt in the U.S. Attorneys investigation.
In January, Cummings issued a comprehensive 95-page report documenting that Operation Fast and Furious was in fact the fourth in a series of gunwalking operations run by ATF's Phoenix field division over a span of five years beginning in 2006 under the Bush Administration. It also reported that the Committee obtained no evidence that the Attorney General was aware that gunwalking was being used. To the contrary, as soon as he learned of its use, the Attorney General halted it and ordered an Inspector General investigation.