DOJ spokeswoman Tracy Schmaler told CBS News reporter Sharyl Attkisson that Holder believes the contempt of Congress proposition is a political game. “From the beginning, Chairman Issa has distorted the facts, ignored testimony and flung inaccurate accusations at the Attorney General and others, and this latest move fits within that tired political playbook that has so many Americans disillusioned with Washington,” Schmaler said.
Contempt appears all but certain to pass out of Issa’s committee, although The Hill newspaper reported in late May that Issa “might not have the votes to push forward.” Since the announcement Monday of a deadline for Holer’s compliance with the subpoena, however, more House oversight committee members have affirmed their support.
New York Republican Rep. Anne Marie Buerkle said on Monday that Holder “is in Contempt of Congress and I will vote ‘Aye’ without reservation during next week’s House Oversight and Government Reform Committee meeting.”
Buerkle is one of 16 GOP members on Issa’s committee who had already confirmed a “yes” vote to The Hill on contempt of Congress. Issa needs 21 such votes to pass the resolution to the full House.
Ohio Republican Rep. Mike Turner also threw his weight behind the contempt resolution Monday. “If the attorney general does not provide the documents as requested by the time of Wednesday’s vote, I will join my colleagues in voting in favor of the contempt resolution.”
Of those GOP members of Issa’s committee who hadn’t previously confirmed a “yes” vote, most have been openly critical of Holder’s performance related to Operation Fast and Furious. Reps. Connie Mack and Tim Walberg have called for Holder’s resignation. Rep. Pat Meehan, a former prosecutor, has expressed frustration on numerous occasions with Holder’s failure to produce documents demanded by the subpoena. And a spokesman for Rep. Justin Amash told The Daily Caller that the congressman had been calling for Holder’s resignation “for months now.”
Reps. Frank Guinta and Todd Platts haven’t made their opinions known, but since the GOP holds a six-seat advantage in the committee, their votes may not be needed for passage.
Issa also said Monday that he ultimately expects “about 31 Democrats” in the full House to join him in a bipartisan effort to hold Holder in contempt. That statement was a reference to a letter 31 Democratic congressmen wrote to President Barack Obama in June 2011, asking him to direct Holder and the DOJ to comply with the congressional investigation into Fast and Furious.
One of those Democrats, Tennessee Rep. Jim Cooper, sits on Issa’s committee. It’s unclear how Cooper will vote next Wednesday. His spokesperson did not immediately respond to TheDC’s request for comment.
One of the other Democrats who signed that letter, Indiana Rep. Joe Donnelly, split from his party line recently and voiced support for Issa’s efforts to enforce the committee’s subpoena of Holder — efforts that would include contempt of Congress. Many other Democrat signatories have criticized Holder over Fast and Furious, an indication Issa may find the support he needs.