Seventeen Democrats joined House Republicans on the first vote, 21 Democrats on the second.
Several dozen Democratic members led by the Congressional Black Caucus walked out of the House chamber in protest, holding a press conference on the House lawn where they derided the vote as a “ridiculous partisan stunt."
One of those Democrats was Tampa Representative Kathy Castor, who told CL on Friday that "I was frankly offended after doing all the research on what a political sham Darrell Issa and Republicans in the House turned that into."
Issa is the Southern California Republican who is chairman of the House Government Oversight Committee, leading the way to find Holder in contempt, the first time in the nation’s history that a sitting Cabinet member had been held in contempt by either house of the US Congress.
Democrats like Castor are calling it an outrageously partisan move by Issa and his GOP colleagues. On NBC's Meet The Press Sunday morning, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (who also walked out on the vote) denied that it was a "conspiracy" against Holder, saying in fact that Republicans have been explicit that they want Holder to go down, with the Fast and Furious debacle being the vehicle they're using to do so.
"Don't take it from me, we need to look to some of the statements made by Republicans, one in particular, about saying that he should resign from office because he has not enforced their voter suppression laws in the country," Pelosi told host David Gregory. "This is an ongoing theme and it's really unfortunate. This is the first time in the history of this country that a Cabinet officer has ever been held in contempt."
Obviously, House Republicans feel differently about it all. House Speaker John Boehner on CBS's Face The Nation says that his colleagues had no choice because Holder and the Justice Department have refused to aid the investigation of Fast and Furious, a failed gun trafficking operation that allowed hundreds of firearms to fall into the hands of violent drug cartel enforcers in Mexico. Two such weapons were found at the site of the murder of a U.S. border patrol agent.
The White House has invoked executive privilege on the House's most recent document requests, setting up a potential legal battle.
Boehner said today that his chamber will likely file a civil suit seeking more Justice Department documents
in the case, saying, "The American people have a right to know what happened."