Republican Congressmen Scott Rigell and Steve LaTourette were the only two members of the GOP to vote against holding Attorney General Eric Holder in criminal contempt of Congress.
Thursday, 255 members of the House, including 17 Democrats, in favor of the contempt charges against Holder for refusing to give up documents related to the Fast and Furious gun walking scandal. The no votes totaled 67.
Rigell, who is serving his first term, represents a district that includes parts of the Hamptons, Virginia Beach, and Norfolk, a constituency that contains “a large population of African-Americans," according to a report in the New York Times.
Thursday night, Rigell explained his vote in a statement posted on his official congressional website.
“In the wisdom of our Founding Fathers, there is built-in tension among the three branches of our federal government. This tension was reflected in two votes that came to the House floor this afternoon. “I believe in progressive discipline. Accordingly, and after a careful review of the facts, I voted against a bill to hold the Attorney General in criminal contempt of Congress,” Rigell wrote.
However, he also stated that he believed the attorney general should resign, saying that Holder “has not served the President or the American people well.”
LaTourette, a moderate from north eastern Ohio, did not issue an official statement explaining his vote. His spokeswoman told a website called mainjustice.com that he "empathizes" with the family of murdered border patrol agent Brian Terry but "he just didn’t think it rose to criminal contempt.”
Both LaTourette and Rigell voted in favor of civil contempt charges for Holder. That measure passed the House by a wider margin than the vote for criminal contempt.
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