was spotlighted again Thursday when the Republican-led House voted along party lines to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress.
It is the first time in history an attorney general has been held in contempt.
National Public Radio reported that droves of Democratic lawmakers protested today’s vote by walking out of House chambers.
The vote follows a June 20 decision by the GOP-controlled House Oversight and Government Reform Committee -- which is chaired by Issa, who represents Lake Elsinore. On that day, the committee voted to recommend holding the attorney general in contempt of the committee after the Obama administration, citing executive privilege for the first time, refused to turn over certain documents pertaining to
To decide what comes next, the criminal contempt charge is being referred to the U.S. Attorney in the District of Columbia – Holder’s own Justice Department.
In a separate measure today, the House also voted to give Issa's committee the authorization to sue the Department of Justice in federal court in an effort to enforce their subpoena seeking the documents.
As NPR reported today, Attorney General Eric Holder called the House vote "unfortunate" and "politically motivated."
"Today's vote is the regrettable culmination of what has become a misguided and politically motivated investigation during an election year," Holder said in a televised statement. "By advancing this over the past year and a half, Congressman Issa and others have focused on politics over public safety."
“Holder said that when the flawed Fast and Furious tactics came to light, he took action, ordering the tactics stopped and ordering an investigation. He said Issa and Republicans in Congress have rebuffed his attempts to bring this to a resolution without a contempt vote,” NPR reported.
Issa issued a statement today that read in part, “This was not the outcome I had sought and it could have been avoided had Attorney General Holder actually produced the subpoenaed documents he said he could provide."