Politics
In this photo taken Tuesday, June 26, 2012, Attorney General Eric Holder speaks in Boston. (AP Photo/Stephan Savoia) In this photo taken Tuesday, June 26, 2012, Attorney General Eric Holder speaks in Boston. (AP Photo/Stephan Savoia)  

House Dem breaks from party, plans to vote for Holder contempt

Photo of Matthew Boyle
Matthew Boyle
Investigative Reporter

The Democratic Party’s resistance to holding Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress is crumbling.

Utah Democratic Rep. Jim Matheson said Tuesday he plans to vote in favor of holding Holder in contempt over his refusal to comply with a subpoena into the Operation Fast and Furious scandal.

“It just compounds the tragedy when both sides play politics instead of releasing the facts. The Terry family, the public and Congress deserve answers,” Matheson said in remarks first reported by the Salt Lake Tribune in his home state. “Sadly, it seems that it will take holding the attorney general in contempt to communicate that evasiveness is unacceptable.”

To make matters worse for Holder, President Barack Obama and the Democratic Party, more Democrats are expected to join Matheson in holding Holder in contempt. House Minority Whip Rep. Steny Hoyer, the House Democrats’ chief vote-counter, isn’t even sure how many Democrats will break ranks. According to the Associated Press — which framed the Democratic defections as a result of the NRA’s decision to score the vote — Hoyer wouldn’t say how many Democrats he expected to vote in favor of Holder in contempt, but confirmed he expects some, like Matheson, to abandon party lines.

These Democratic defections cut sharply into the narrative House oversight committee ranking Democratic member Rep. Elijah Cummings, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, the White House and Holder himself have created around this scandal. They have all claimed that House oversight committee chairman Rep. Darrell Issa and House Republicans are motivated by partisan politics in pursuing this issue, something that Matheson and other Democrats’ vote would undercut.

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