House votes to hold attorney general in contempt

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Attorney General Eric Holder has a place in history, the first Cabinet member held in contempt of Congress.

But Holder says it's nothing more than "political theater."

The rebuke was pushed by House Republicans who had demanded that Holder hand over all documents, without exception, related to a failed gun-tracking operation.

The vote was mostly along party lines with more than 100 Democrats boycotting. African-American lawmakers led a walkout to protest the action against Holder, the nation's first black attorney general. Two Republicans, Scott Rigell of Virginia and Steven LaTourette of Ohio, voted with the minority. Seventeen Democrats, all with high ratings from the National Rifle Association, voted with Republicans. The NRA had demanded a vote against Holder.

Republicans asserted their right to obtain documents needed for an investigation of Operation Fast and Furious. But in the debate, Rep. Jackie Speier of California, called the contempt effort "Fast and foolish."