[JURIST] The US House of Representatives [official website] voted Thursday and found US Attorney General Eric Holder [official profile] in contempt [H. Res. 711 materials] for failing to fully comply with subpoenas issued in regards to a failed gun trafficking investigation. Members of the House voted 255-67 [roll call] with 109 not voting, claiming it was politically motivated. The contempt of Congress citation [Cornell Law backgrounder; 2 USC §192] was both criminal and civil, with the criminal citation being sent to the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia [official website] and the civil allowing the House to go to court to retrieve the subpoenaed documents. The House is seeking documents [AP report] related to “Operation Fast and Furious” where tracked guns were permitted to travel from Arizona to Mexico in an attempt to stop weapons trafficking from higher-up dealers. President Obama invoked executive privilege on the subpoenaed documents. Holder responded [press release] to the vote stating, “Today’s vote is the regrettable culmination of what became a misguided—and politically motivated—investigation during an election year,” and stated he would continue to focus on the government’s job of protecting the American people.
Republican Representative Darrell Issa [official website] initiated the contempt action as the leader of the House investigation. Last week, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee [official website] voted [press release] to find Holder in contempt for failing to provide the information needed in their investigation. The Department of Justice [official website] prepared a report [PDF] for the House committee last July which discussed the effect of the admittedly failed operation in Mexico. The House has been investigating Operation Fast and Furious [investigation website] since April 2011.