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House Mulls Contempt Votes Against Bolten, Miers

After months of delay, House leaders are considering bringing contempt citations against White House Chief of Staff Josh Bolten and ex-White House counsel Harriet Miers to the chamber floor for votes Thursday.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said this morning that it was "possible" the citations would be on Thursday's schedule, saying there was "space on the calendar" because a planned debate on an energy bill had been punted until after the President's Day recess. Hoyer also emphasized that the issue for Democratic leaders was not specifically about Bolten or Miers, but rather about protecting Congress' ability to get information from the executive branch.

The House Judiciary Committee voted last July to hold Bolten and Miers in contempt of Congress after they refused to comply with subpoenas from the panel during the investigation of the firings of nine U.S. Attorneys. Since then, Judiciary Chairman John Conyers (D-Mich.) has been trying without success to press the Bush administration for more information and for consent to have the two officials appear.

If the House approves the citations, they will be referred to the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia, though it is not clear whether the Justice Department would actually enforce them. It is also not clear why Democratic leaders would decide to move forward on the citations now after six months of delay.

Liberal activists have been pressing for action since last year, and -- coincidentally or not -- grassroots Democrats have also stepped up pressure on Conyers in recent days to hold impeachment hearings against Vice President Cheney.

By Ben Pershing  |  February 13, 2008; 12:48 PM ET
Categories:  Branch vs. Branch , Dem. Leaders , Ethics and Rules  
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