House Republicans to Force Vote on Holding Attorney General in Inherent Contempt

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Rep. Anna Paulina Luna (R-FL) has announced plans to force a vote to hold Attorney General Merrick Garland in inherent contempt of Congress, a rarely used maneuver that requires a House vote. Luna argues that Congress must have access to information to make informed decisions, and that Garland’s refusal to comply with subpoenas is an obstruction of that goal.

The House previously voted to hold Garland in contempt of Congress on June 12, with a vote of 216 to 207. However, the Department of Justice has argued that Garland is protected from prosecution due to President Joe Biden’s assertion of executive privilege over the records in question.

Luna has vowed to explore alternative measures, including an inherent contempt vote, after Garland’s DOJ indicated that it would ignore the House’s contempt vote. Inherent contempt was established by law in 1957 to enable the House Sergeant-at-Arms to detain individuals who defy congressional subpoenas.

Luna
Rep. Anna Paulina Luna, R-Fla., takes her seat as the House Oversight and Accountability Committee holds an organizational meeting for the 118th Congress, at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2023. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Luna’s resolution may face challenges, as only one Republican, Rep. Dave Joyce (R-OH), voted with Democrats against holding Garland in contempt earlier this month. However, Luna remains committed to the cause, claiming that the Biden Administration is pressuring Republicans to oppose the resolution.

“This is the very definition of corruption,” Luna said in a statement. “Garland believes he is above the law and can tell elected members of Congress what to do. My message to Garland is straightforward: release the tapes to Congress and let us listen to them.”

The move comes as Republicans continue to clash with Garland over the release of records related to Special Counsel Robert Hur’s investigation into President Biden’s handling of classified information.

Bradley Jaye
Bradley Jaye
Political reporter.

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