By Justin Sink - 06/28/12 09:36 PM EDT
The Republican-controlled House voted 255-67 to hold the attorney general in contempt, the first time in American history that the head of the Justice Department has faced such a sanction. Seventeen Democrats joined the GOP in voting for the resolution.
Holder dismissed the move as "reckless," and accused Republicans of chasing "truly absurd conspiracy theories" to score political points.
"I had hoped that Congressional leaders would be good-faith partners in this work. Some have. Others, however, have devoted their time and attention to making reckless charges — unsupported by fact — and to advancing truly absurd conspiracy theories. Unfortunately, these same members of Congress were nowhere to be found when the Justice Department and others invited them to help look for real solutions to the terrible problem of violence on both sides of our Southwest Border. That’s tragic, and it’s irresponsible," Holder said.
Republicans accuse Holder of withholding documents requested during a House investigation into the "Fast and Furious" gun-smuggling operation.
"I don't take this matter lightly, and I frankly hoped it would never come to this," said House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) on the House floor shortly before the scheduled vote.
"But no Justice Department is above the law, and no Justice Department is above the Constitution, which each of us has sworn an oath to uphold," he said. "So I ask the members of this body to come together and to support this resolution."
For more on Holder's remarks, click here.