WASHINGTON - It's not just the Supreme Court's healthcare decision that has Capitol Hill's attention Thursday. The U.S. House will also vote on a motion to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress for failing to share information about a botched gun tracking operation.
The Obama Administration and many Democrats in Congress call the Republican-led effort a political witch hunt but some Minnesota Democrats are weighing whether to support the motion.
Seventh District Congressman Collin Peterson told Politico he would vote to hold Holder in contempt while 1st District Representative Tim Walz told MPR News that he's on the fence about how to vote. Walz said Wednesday afternoon that he planned to review documents about the operation the Administration has shared with Congress in order to help make his decision.
"I'm going always, I think, to err on the side of information due to Congress needs to be delivered to Congress and so that's kind of where I'm coming from," said Walz.
Both Walz and Peterson have been endorsed by the National Rifle Association, which has accused Holder of using the gun tracking operation as a pretext to take away guns from legal gun owners.
Rep. Walz will vote to hold Holder in contempt. He just issued this statement:
"I've long had concerns about the "Fast and Furious" program. It was poorly conceived, unacceptable mistakes were made, and questions were left unanswered. It is the responsibility of Congress to conduct oversight and to ensure transparency that is needed to protect the integrity of our democracy. To do its job, Congress must have access to all of the information it needs to make independent, sound judgments on behalf of the American people.
"Five years ago, when I voted to hold President Bush's Administration Officials in contempt, I said we have to stay consistent in our oversight of executive branch officials. After reviewing the facts carefully, I came to the same conclusions as I did in 2007. There are just too many unanswered questions surrounding "Fast and Furious," and the American people deserve to know more. Therefore, I will support the vote to hold the Attorney General in contempt for failure to provide requested information."
I emailed Mr. Peterson last night to encourage him to vote against the censure. I have no hope however that he will as he is quite entrenched in the power in congress, and the NRA influence.
This is the last straw. Rep Walz has crossed the line, voting yes to censure Atty Gen'l Holder. For shame, you blue dog DINO! This comes after backing Tea Party measures in congress over and over. I will worl tirelessly for your defeat
I have been critical of many of Congressman Walz's votes but in this instance, he has laid out a rational explaination that does not differ based on political considerations ... if a Member feels that Harriet Miers and Josh Bolten meritted being held in contempt, then it is hard not to say the same about AG Holder ... heck, let's give credit to the Dems that weighed in on the vote as opposed to the Republicans that went Fast and Furiously out of the Chamber refusing to vote in 2007.
1000's of assault weapons were walked across the border. This was done by an underworld criminal enterprise; it was done by our own ATF. Some of them have blown the whistle and hence the investigation. The weapons were not tracked. The Mexican Govt. was not notified. Many Mexican people died as well as our own Border Agent, Brian Terry. Terry's family wants answers, not coverup! Why shouldn't Holder be held to account?
Another sellout vote from Rep. Walz. First it was the pro pesticide/anti-regulation vote (bought by Big Ag), then came the pro Keystone Pipeline (bought by Big Oil), now we have him selling out to the NRA. Has anyone read the recent Fortune Magazine article which lays out the specifics of the Arizona gun mess? Thanks to the NRA, any 18 year old can walk into an Arizona gun store and legally buy 20 assault weapons -funded by the illegal gun cartels who then transport the weapons over the border. Congress should be investigating these outrageous gun laws promoted by the NRA, not the ATF or AG Holder.