NRA Holds a Key to Contempt Vote as Holder Dares Issa to Proceed

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NRA Holds a Key to Contempt Vote as Holder Dares Issa to Proceed

USA –-( Attorney General Eric Holder failed to produce required documents in this afternoon’s meeting with the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, Chairman Darrell Issa indicated this evening in a committee press release. Holder had been expected to provide subpoenaed information related to the government’s Fast and Furious criminal operation, specifically regarding a February 4, 2011 letter from the Department of Justice telling the Committee that “gunwalking” allegations were “false.”

“I had hoped that after this evening’s meeting I would be able to tell you that the Department had delivered documents that would justify the postponement of tomorrow’s vote on contempt,” Issa stated. “The Department told the Committee on Thursday that it had documents it could produce that would answer our questions. Today, the Attorney General informed us that the Department would not be producing those documents. The only offer they made involved us ending our investigation.”

“While I still hope the Department will reconsider its decision so tomorrow’s vote can be postponed, after this meeting I cannot say that I am optimistic,” Issa admitted. “At this point, we simply do not have the documents we have repeatedly said we need to justify the postponement of a contempt vote in committee.”

Holder’s actions practically mirror predictions made by former House Judiciary Committee Legal Counsel Julian Epstein on Fox News earlier today, in a segment introduced by anchor Megyn Kelly who made the observation “The biggest impediment to that vote may not be the Attorney General, Eric Holder, it may be the Speaker of the House.” From this, it seems reasonable to make two inferences: First that the politically-connected Epstein is getting and using administration talking points, and second, that Holder has chosen this course of conflict because he thinks he can, and John Boehner’s much-speculated on equivocation is helping fuel that confidence.

Longtime Gun Rights Examiner readers will recall this column asked “Is John Boehner impeding Fast and Furious investigation?” in February, based on sourced information citizen journalist Mike Vanderboegh of Sipsey Street Irregulars gleaned from his sources. Boehner spokesman Michael Steele responded seemingly unequivocally, stating “Such speculation is absurd and untrue. The Speaker appreciates the hard work that Chairman Issa and many others have done to expose this scandal. President Obama’s Department of Justice needs to be accountable.” Also denying it, as Seattle Gun Rights Examiner Dave Workman reported at the time, was the Committee press secretary.

But a report filed earlier today by William La Jeunesse of Fox News hinted at returned wobbliness on the Speaker’s part, saying “Sources close to the investigation told Fox News that both Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor generally are not supportive of the vote against Holder.” [Note: That story has since been replaced on the Fox website, but it has been posted as originally filed on the forum.]

One other point La Jeunesse made that could be the game-changer: “One key to Tuesday’s outcome may be the National Rifle Association. The NRA would not confirm, but sources say the gun rights organization is pushing hard to allow the contempt vote. The group’s involvement increases pressure on Boehner and Democrats up for re-election in swing districts.”

The NRA must be involved. Now is not the time to avoid confirmation, now is the time to show the leadership it claims, and that its membership expects of it.

Turning to their politically potent candidate rating process, they can and should make it clear that a contempt vote will be scored, as will members of the GOP leadership thinking about going squishy. If they will not play this card, and before it’s too late, gun owners deserve to know why.

UPDATE: NRA promises to score the vote.

About David Codrea

David Codrea is a long-time gun rights advocate who defiantly challenges the folly of citizen disarmament. He is a field editor for GUNS Magazine, and a blogger at The War on Guns: Notes from the Resistance. Read more at