By Mike Lillis - 06/21/12 07:52 PM EDT
Republicans are attacking Attorney General Eric Holder to help states
purge their voting rolls ahead of November's elections, the top House
Democrat charged Thursday.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Wednesday's committee vote to hold Holder in contempt of Congress — and next week's scheduled floor vote on the same resolution — represent a thinly veiled Republican scheme to distract the attorney general from his fight against state laws that have erected new hurdles to voting and registration — and that would suppress areas that tend to vote Democratic.
"They're going after Eric Holder because he is supporting measures to overturn these voter-suppression initiatives in the states," Pelosi told reporters in the Capitol. "This is no accident, it is no coincidence, it is a plan."
Holder has been under fire from Republicans on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee for his response to the panel's investigation into the "Fast and Furious" program, a botched gun-running operation run by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) and other Republicans claim Holder is withholding documents investigators need to examine the program fully.
On Wednesday, the panel Republicans voted unanimously on a contempt resolution against Holder, and House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has vowed to bring the measure to the floor next week unless Holder releases the requested documents first. Democrats on the panel unanimously rejected the charge.