Gun Laws & Legislation

More Democrats plan to vote for Holder contempt, media blames NRA

Matthew Boyle Investigative Reporter
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Three more House Democrats have publicly stated now that they’ll vote in favor of holding Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress, bringing the now-bipartisan support for the resolution to four Democrats.

According to Politico, a left-leaning media outlet based in suburban Virginia, Democratic Reps. Nick Rahall of West Virginia and Collin Peterson of Minnesota have joined Utah Democratic Rep. Jim Matheson with plans to vote in favor of contempt. Georgia Democratic Rep. John Barrow is also planning to vote for the contempt resolution, Fox News reports.

Some mainstream and left-leaning media outlets, including Politico, have tried to frame the bipartisan support for Holder contempt over Fast and Furious as some kind of NRA conspiracy theory, and have argued that the reason why these Democrats are supporting the resolution is because the NRA is “scoring” the vote. Democrats in swing districts who vote against the contempt resolution could receive a lower grade from the powerful gun-rights organization.

But each of the Democrats who are voting in favor of Holder contempt resolution says the NRA support for it is hardly why they’re doing it, and instead insist that they are supporting the resolution for moral reasons. Each of these three Democrats signed a letter to President Barack Obama last June asking him to direct Holder and the Department of Justice to comply with congressional inquiries on Fast and Furious – something Obama and Holder have demonstrably failed to do.

“I don’t usually vote against [the NRA], I have my A+ rating you know,” Peterson said. “I’d have a hard time voting against them but I just had an explanation by a lawyer at the Blue Dog meeting and [the Obama administration’s claim of executive privilege over the documents is] a bunch of gobbledygook. I don’t know what the hell they are talking about.”

Rahall told Politico that his vote is based on his signature on that letter from over a year ago – not the NRA’s planned scoring of the vote – but the website kept pushing the idea that the NRA was responsible for the defections.

“It goes back to the letter I signed. It’s not because of the NRA,” Rahall said. “I don’t think executive privilege was warranted.”

Politico is hardly the only left-leaning media outlet to try to blame the NRA for the bipartisan support of the contempt vote. In response to Matheson’s public support for Holder contempt, The New York Times published a story claiming “Democrats feel pressure from gun lobby on contempt vote.”

“Both the N.R.A. and the smaller but more strident Gun Owners of America have made Thursday’s House contempt vote crucial to their ratings of House lawmakers,” the Times wrote. “The N.R.A. is pressing to win Democratic votes, said Wayne LaPierre, the group’s chief executive, and White House officials and House Democratic leaders concede that a handful of Democrats are likely to vote for the contempt resolution.”

The Associated Press backed the same theory Times and Politico are pushing too, writing that the NRA has “injected” itself into this scandal just “last week.” In reality, the NRA has been vocal about Fast and Furious and calling for Holder’s resignation over it since the scandal’s early stages in spring 2011.

UPDATE 4:35 p.m.

Another Democrat, Rep. Mike McIntyre of North Carolina, has said he’ll vote in favor of contempt for Holder on Thursday making him the fifth confirmed Democratic “yes” vote.

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