The historic House vote to censure Attorney General Eric Holder is nearly upon us, and as my colleague Billy House reports in National Journal Daily, both Republicans and Democrats "eagerly offer their own murky conspiracy theories" to explain how we got to this point.
But first, let's recap where negotiations stand before we come to the conspiracies:
A meeting on Tuesday among the principals, including representatives of House Speaker John Boehner, aides to Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., the White House, and Justice Department officials proved unable to resolve the two sides, a congressional GOP aide told House.
"During that meeting, the administration representatives showed about 30 more pages of documents described as "illustrative" of hundreds of other pages they would provide--but only on condition that Republicans would stop their contempt action against Holder and end the investigation. That offer was rejected," House wrote.
OK, back to the conspiracies: Some members, like Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., have another explanation for the investigation and pending contempt vote against Holder: The attorney general is the person in charge of making sure voter suppression does not happen in November's election and he's challenging Republican-backed voter-ID laws. Naturally, some Republicans conclude, this explains why the administration seemingly sanctioned the operations
Some members of the Republican caucus--and outside Congress, the National Rifle Association--proffer their own theories, like that the administration viewed gun-walking schemes like Fast and Furious as a means to get the public to back tougher gun laws.
In a sign that each side is not willing to entertain the seriousness of the other's theory, the counter-charges have been, well, concise and even a little dismissive.
"Mind-numbingly stupid," said Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C. of Pelosi's explanation. "Absurd," said the White House's Eric Schultz of the Republican theory.
The contempt vote is set to come to the floor on Thursday.
Subscribers can read more of House's story here.
Photo: U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder gestures while speaking at the "Protecting Civil Rights: A Symposium on Key Civil Rights Issues" in Boston on Tuesday. (AP Photo/Stephan Savoia)