WASHINGTON -- A day after House Republicans made history by voting to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress, the Congressional Black Caucus on Friday forced the House to vote on a measure to scold Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) for his treatment of the nation's top law enforcement official.
Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) put forward a privileged resolution stating that Issa, the chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, violated House rules during his handling of his months-long probe into the Justice Department's botched "Fast and Furious" operation. A privileged resolution specifically applies when a lawmaker charges another with breaking rules relating to the dignity of the House or the reputation of its members.
Lee requested that the House clerk read aloud the entire resolution, which ticked off several instances in which Issa behaved in a way that Democrats say was out of line. Those instances included, per the resolution, publicly calling Holder "a liar" and demonstrating "unprofessional behavior" that could jeopardize investigations underway in Congress.
"The House of Representatives disapproves of the behavior of the chair for interfering with ongoing criminal investigations; insisting on a personal attack against the Attorney General of the United States; and for calling the Attorney General of the United States a liar on national television without corroborating evidence, thereby discredit to the integrity of the House," the resolution concludes.
As expected, Republicans lined up to reject the resolution. It was tabled by a vote of 259 to 161, with 24 Democrats siding with all Republicans. But it gave most Democrats what they wanted: a chance to publicly reprimand Issa.
An Issa spokeswoman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Nearly all House Democrats, led by the Congressional Black Caucus, walked out of Thursday's contempt vote to protest what they said was a political stunt aimed at tarnishing President Barack Obama ahead of November's elections. As dozens of lawmakers flooded onto the Capitol lawn for a press conference, Congressional Black Caucus Chairman Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.) told the group they should be proud of what they had done.
"By walking out, we are declaring we are not participating in this process," he said.