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US House votes to hold Miers, Bolten in contempt of Congress

[JURIST] The US House of Representatives voted Thursday to hold former White House legal counsel Harriet Miers and White House Chief of Staff Joshua Bolten [official profiles] in contempt [H Res 979 materials] for failing to cooperate with an inquiry into the US Attorneys firing scandal [JURIST news archive]. Members of the House voted 223-32 [roll call] to issue contempt citations for Miers for failing to testify and citations for both Miers and Bolten for refusing to produce documents related to the 2006-2007 firings. The White House has said that the information sought in the inquiry is protected by executive privilege [press briefing transcript] and that both Miers and Bolten are immune from prosecution.

In July 2007, the US House Judiciary Committee voted [JURIST report] to issue contempt of Congress citations [Cornell Law backgrounder; 2 USC Sec. 192] against Bolten and Miers. House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers (D-MI) has said that an investigation [report, PDF] has "uncovered serious evidence of wrongdoing by the department and White House staff" in connection to the firings and the administration's handling of the ensuing investigation. Contempt of Congress is a federal misdemeanor that carries a fine of up to $100,000 and one-year imprisonment. It is the first time in 25 years that a full chamber of Congress has voted on a contempt of Congress citation. AP has more.

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