June 21, 2012
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi went on the defensive Thursday. She said a contempt vote by Republicans against Attorney General Eric Holder is an effort to block votes in the upcoming election.
Pelosi characterized the proceeding as “a shameful display of an abuse of power” by House Republicans and said it was no mistake Holder is the government official in charge of preventing voter suppression. Democrats argue that states that have enacted more rigorous voter ID requirements are attempting to prevent minorities from voting.
On Wednesday, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee voted to hold Holder in contempt for not supplying documents related to the “Fast and Furious” investigation. Holder and the government initially claimed guns were not transferred to Mexico, but later admitted they had, which prompted the the committee to request more documents.
The covert operation provided Mexican drug cartels with a large number of weapons. In December, it was revealed that the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives discussed using the operation to argue for new laws restricting gun sales and attack the Second Amendment.
“These very same people who are holding him in contempt are part of a nationwide scheme to suppress the vote” involving political donors who are anonymously contributing large sums of money to the GOP, Pelosi said.
Republicans took Pelosi to task for her comments. “For minority leader Pelosi to dismiss this tragedy and say the investigation is really about voter suppression is offensive and wrong,” said Rep. Darrell Issa’s spokesman Frederick R. Hill.
“The American people deserve the truth on what happened in Fast and Furious,” said House Speaker John Boehner, a Republican from Ohio.
President Obama claimed executive privilege on Wednesday and refused to turn over additional documents to the committee. The Justice Department has so far handed over 7,600 documents, a small percentage of more than 130,000 documents not disclosed.