As the vote to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt looms, it looks as though many House Democrats could vote with the GOP, falling in a line of dominos that leads back to Representative Jim Matheson (D., Utah).
Matheson declared his support for the contempt vote on Tuesday, becoming the first to publicly break party ranks on the issue. His office released this statement:
Regardless of when ‘Fast and Furious’ began, as the head of the Justice Department in 2009, Attorney General Holder is ultimately in charge of getting to the bottom of this tragedy and informing Congress so that people responsible for this ill-conceived effort are held accountable and to prevent it from ever happening again.
Utahns expect and deserve transparency and accountability from government officials, especially when a tragedy such as the death of a U.S. Border Patrol agent occurs. It just compounds the tragedy when both sides play politics instead of releasing the facts. The Terry family, the public and Congress deserve answers. Sadly, it seems that it will take holding the Attorney General in contempt to communicate that evasiveness is unacceptable. It is a vote I will support.
As many as 20 other Democrats may vote in favor of contempt charges, says Fox News.
Last June, 31 Democrats signed onto a brief letter expressing concern about Fast and Furious documents withheld under Holder’s tenure.
Only four Democrats who signed the letter now refuse to support the contempt measure.
Jim Cooper (Tenn.), Tim Ryan (Ohio), Martin Heinrich (N.M.) and Gene Green (Texas) will vote against the charges, while Representative Mike Michaud (Maine) remains undecided, reports The Hill.
Below are the 31 Democrats who signed the letter:
Jason Altmire (Pa.) Joe Baca (Calif.) John Barrow (Ga.) Sanford Bishop (Ga.) Dan Boren (Okla.) Leonard Boswell (Iowa) Dennis Cardoza (Calif.) Ben Chandler (Ky.) Jim Cooper (Tenn.) Jim Costa (Calif.) Jerry Costello (Ill.) Mark S. Critz (Pa.) Peter Defazio (Ore.) Joe Donnelly (Ind.) Gene Green (Texas) Martin Heinrich (N.M.) Tim Holden (Pa.) Ron Kind (Wis.) Larry Kissell (N.C.) Ben Ray Lujan (N.M.) Jim Matheson (Utah) Mike McIntyre (N.C.) Mike Michaud (Maine) Bill Owens (N.Y.) Collin Peterson (Minn.) Nick Rahall (W.V.) Mike Ross (Ark.) Tim Ryan (Ohio) Kurt Schrader (Ore.) Heath Shuler (N.C.) Tim Walz (Minn.)