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Seeking the truth

"Seeking the truth" Continued...

The contempt citation now goes to the full House for consideration. Boehner released a statement after the committee vote saying that he planned to proceed with a House vote next week unless Holder hands over the requested documents.

Congress has held administration officials in contempt about a dozen times during the last 40 years. A Democrat-controlled Congress in 2008, also a presidential election year, held in contempt George W. Bush's White House counsel, Harriet Miers, and chief of staff, Joshua Bolten, over claims of politically motivated hiring practices. Holder is the first attorney general to face a contempt vote since 1998.

Holder released his own statement calling the contempt vote "an election-year tactic" that "has deflected critical resources from fulfilling what remains my top priority at the Department of Justice: protecting the American people."

The contempt battle could make its way to the courts. But both the lawmakers and the White House may be reluctant to allow the clash to reach that far out of fear that the judicial branch may curtail either presidential or legislative powers.

In the midst of all the political wrangling, the parents of Brian Terry, Josephine and Kent Terry, released a statement of their own: "Our son lost his life protecting this nation, and it is very disappointing that we are now faced with an administration that seems more concerned with protecting themselves rather than revealing the truth behind Operation Fast and Furious."

Edward Lee Pitts
Edward Lee Pitts

Lee teaches journalism at Dordt College in Sioux Center, Iowa, and is the associate dean of the World Journalism Institute.


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