Congressman G. K. Butterfield (NC-01), Second Vice-Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, today joined his Democratic colleagues in walking off the House Floor to oppose a Republican-led vote holding Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress.
"Never in our nation's history has the U.S. House of Representatives voted to hold a sitting attorney general in contempt of Congress," said Butterfield. "The Republican vote to hold Attorney General Holder in contempt is not about "gunwalking,' the Justice Department, or Mr. Holder's cooperation during the Oversight Committee's so-called investigation into Operation Fast and Furious. Rather it is political gamesmanship in a Presidential election year where we continue to see the Majority's unrelenting attempts to discredit President Obama and his Administration. The Republican leadership has yet to express a legislative purpose for taking this unprecedented course of action. Therefore, we refused to participate in a vote to hold Mr. Holder in contempt."
Over the past 15 months, Attorney General Holder and the Department of Justice have cooperated with the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform's requests for information on "Fast and Furious," an operation that began under the Bush Administration and was terminated by Attorney General Holder. The Justice Department has turned over approximately 8,000 documents, which included all the documents related to the Fast and Furious investigation and other flawed investigations that occurred in Arizona during the Bush Administration. Attorney General Holder also willingly participated in a bicameral meeting to satisfy the Committee's information requests, and has advised House Republicans that he is eager to work toward an agreement. But the Republican Leadership instead insisted on a contempt vote, charging that Attorney General Holder and the Justice Department refused to fully comply with its investigation.
"The integrity of the U.S. House of Representatives was severely undermined by this vote."