NRA Pressure Likely To Lead Some Democrats To Hold Holder In Contempt

Last week, the National Rifle Association announced that it would be “scoring” this weeks House vote on whether to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt, meaning that it will become part of the legislative score that the organization releases on an annual basis. Because of this, speculation has increased that a not insignificant number of House Democrats will join the GOP in holding Holder in contempt:

House Democrats are bracing for defections during Thursday’s vote to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress after the National Rifle Association (NRA) announced they will be including the vote in their “future candidate evaluations.”

“It is no secret that the NRA does not admire Attorney General Holder,” a letter from the NRA to members of the House of Representatives reads. “For years, we have pointed out his history of anti-second Amendment advocacy and enforcement actions.”

In an effort to persuade Democrats from voting for the contempt citation because of their fear of repercussions from the enormously powerful gun lobby, aides say that House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD) is actively engaging members of their caucus to encourage them to vote against the measure, something called “whipping” on Capitol Hill.

“I think there are some members that will consider the recommendations of the NRA,” Hoyer said to reporters today. “Whether they think those recommendations are founded or not, I don’t know at this point.”

The number of Democratic defections could reach 31, according to House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA), whose committee voted last Wednesday to move the contempt citation to a full House vote.

Issa cites a letter sent from 31 Democrats to the Obama administration last year asking for them to be forthcoming with details of the Fast and Furious gun-walking operation as a template for possible Democratic “yes” votes.

While 31 Democrats voting for the contempt citation on Thursday may be overly optimistic, the sway of the NRA during an election year is a legitimate concern for Democrats. Democrats running in swing districts need the support of organizations like the NRA (or at least not their opposition) to stop more conservative opponents from taking them down in November.

In its letter, the NRA said that one of the reasons it is supporting the contempt vote is because of the belief, prevalent among many on the right, that the entire Fast and Furious operation was designed to create evidence in support of a move for increased gun control. Regardless of the merits of their argument, the practical effect of the NRA’s endorsement of contempt will be interesting to see when the final vote is tallied tomorrow.

FILED UNDER: Congress, Quick Takes, US Politics,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. al-Ameda says:

    In it’s letter, the NRA said that one of the reasons it is supporting the contempt vote is because of the belief, prevalent among many on the right, that the entire Fast and Furious operation was designed to create evidence in support of a move for increased gun control. Regardless of the merits of their argument, the practical effect of the NRA’s endorsement of contempt will be interesting to see when the final vote is tallied tomorrow.

    I wonder how many Democrats will end up “not voting” on the contempt order?

  2. Tsar Nicholas says:

    That really is a funny article. It took them until the sixth graf to point out that last year 31 House Democrats (over 15% of the entire caucus) asked Holder to stop playing fast and loose with this investigation. The agenda of the article nevertheless is that it’s the NRA to blame for tomorrow’s defections among Democrats. The NRA made me do it. The dog ate my homework. What perfume smell, honey? Geez. The other howler of that article — and almost certainly the reporter and editor are far too loopy to get it — is that by negative implication what they’re saying is that House Democrats are so partisan, so corrupt, so irredeemable, that it takes the NRA to nudge them towards voting to hold in contempt an executive branch member who’s obviously in contempt.

  3. As I mention in another thread, the right, certainly NRA included, don’t want people to think too much about what F&F says, without any conspiracy whatsoever.

    Assault weapons are designed for human-on-human violence, and we should not be surprised that they are sometimes purchased for that.

    Sure, there are secondary uses, recreation, etc., but the key here is that the NRA doesn’t want you thinking about their primary design goals.

  4. Marla Hughes says:

    Doug,
    What you’re trying really hard to avoid here is that those Democrats who *care* about NRA ratings are the ones who are elected/remain in office because of the members of the NRA who are voters in their district. The reason they are supported in their district is because they hold the same values as the people in those districts for the most part.
    Articles such as these enforce the premise that all politicians are bought and paid for by lobbyists and/or care nothing about the issues themselves. How many of those Democrats who will vote for contempt for Holder have relatives or have served themselves in those agencies that Holder is overseeing?
    In addition, the agents themselves have openly called for Holder’s resignation through their union. The scandal was broken in an ATF forum for active ATF employees. The reason Congress is involved is specifically because a whistleblower within the ATF, who’s a member of the forum, was urged to by fellow forum members.
    Your article does nothing but regurgitate the talking points coming straight from the DNC in an attempt to counter the defections in their own ranks over such blatant lack of concern for either the lives of the public or even their own officers.

  5. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    Meanwhile, the civil rights movement is trying to play the race card in Holder’s defense. But that’s OK, because… um…

    Someone wanna throw me a bone here?

  6. J-Dub says:

    Anyone interested in the Fast and Furious case should read this article in Fortune: http://features.blogs.fortune.cnn.com/2012/06/27/fast-and-furious-truth/

    If anyone is contemptible its the NRA. They don’t care how many Mexicans are killed by guns that are purchased in the US. Homeless people buying $10,000 50 caliber rifles? OK with the NRA!

  7. al-Ameda says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Meanwhile, the civil rights movement is trying to play the race card in Holder’s defense. But that’s OK, because… um…
    Someone wanna throw me a bone here?

    A bone? I’ll throw you some cat food and a 48oz Mountain Dew.
    An article @ Townhall.com? Why not just cut and paste the “they’re using the race card” talking point and spare us the Townhall.com spam?

  8. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @al-Ameda: Nice attempt at shooting the messenger. Next time, use something besides a leaky squirt gun.

    Town Hall was the first source I found, but there are plenty. And there’s video of NAACP President Benjamin Jealous attempting to play the race card to defend Holder.

    @J-Dub: I read the article. Long on charges, short on proof. And their main point was to blame Dodson, the whistle-blower, for most of the bad stuff. Gee, haven’t seen that before, have we?