Rep. Jason Altmire (D-Pa.), one of the 17 Democrats who voted to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress Thursday, said he had "no other choice" but to sanction Holder for withholding documents related to the controversial "Fast and Furious" investigation.
The Pennsylvania Democrat was one of the few Democrats who voted for contempt without an eye toward the November election; Altmire lost a member-on-member primary to Rep. Mark Critz (D-Pa.) in April and so will not have the opportunity to run for reelection this cycle. Altmire said he viewed his vote as ideologically consistent with similar sanctions against Bush administration officials.
"The fact is that the House has jurisdiction in oversight over these types of investigations. The attorney general was asked to provide information, and he chose not to provide it. So as a result, I had no other choice, but to vote in contempt," Altmire told CNN.
Altmire did say, however, that he believes Holder hadn't done anything wrong.
"I believe he is an honest man," Altmire said. "I think the documents are going to show that. The question of the vote yesterday was, did he comply with the House request for documents for an ongoing investigation about a very serious matter, that again I believe he will not be in any way found to be negligent in that. But the fact is, he was asked to provide the documents, and he didn't."
He did nothing wrong, but Brave Sir Jason had no choice but to vote to hold him in contempt. Perhaps Congressman, soon to be former Congressman Altmire (who lost his primary a couple months back for being a Blue Dog ass) your uncommon valor here explains why you'll be looking for a new job after the first of the year.
Had to get that one last dig in on the black guy though, huh. Because Republicans like Utah Republican Jason Chaffetz keep saying they'll have Holder arrested aaaaaaaaanytime now.
“That would be fairly dramatic, but yes,” said Chaffetz. “Three options: going through the U.S. attorney, going into civil court or have the Sargent at Arms take control of the situation — which I think some people are going to say we ought to do — but we’re going to exhaust the other ones first.”
“Really,” replied Kelly.
“I find it hard and dramatic to do, but we want to get to the bottom of this,” said Chaffetz. “We’re serious about this.”
Sure you are. Step up to the plate, boys. Put Holder in irons. Watch what happens next.