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Organizations urge Boehner not to vote contempt against AG

By Terry Frieden, CNN Justice Producer
updated 4:14 PM EDT, Tue May 29, 2012
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Activist groups Tuesday urged Speaker of the House not to proceed to contempt vote
  • Republicans have threatened a contempt citation against AG Eric Holder
  • Citation would be for inadequate response to October subpoena demanding documents
  • Holder turned over sufficient documents, according to activist letter

(CNN) -- With the threat of a contempt charge hanging over Attorney General Eric Holder, 14 civil rights, labor, and liberal activist groups Tuesday urged Speaker of the House John Boehner not to proceed to a contempt vote.

The organizations which are closely allied with the Obama administration charged that to hold the attorney general in contempt for failing to turn over demanded documents on the "fast and furious" investigation "seems to be a rush to judgment intended to create a stain on the office of the attorney general."

The two-page letter, written by the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights repeats the claims made by the Justice Department in refusing to provide sensitive internal law enforcement documents. The organizations said Holder has already turned over the disputed documents to the inspector general for his ongoing investigation into the flawed gun-smuggling operation. "They reportedly include law enforcement information, grand jury transcripts, and other information that would compromise ongoing investigations and prosecutions," the letter said.

House Republicans have repeatedly threatened to vote a contempt citation against Holder for failing to adequately respond to a subpoena issued last October.

The Justice Department has acknowledged the operation was flawed and the ATF should not have allowed illegally purchased weapons to "walk" across the Mexican border to drug cartels.

No date has been set for the committee to vote on a contempt charge, which would need to precede a vote by the full House.

House Republican leaders had no immediate comment on the letter sent to Boehner.

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