Panel backs White House contempt citations
The House Judiciary Committee voted 22-17 along party lines to hold two White House aides in contempt of Congress for refusing to testify about the U.S. Attorney scandal.

The contempt citations against chief of staff Joshua B. Bolten and former counsel Harriet E. Miers go to the full House for consideration. But a vote may not take place until after Labor Day, according to news reports.

If the House approves the citations, they would be referred to the U.S. Attorney's Office in the District of Columbia. The office previously defended former Interior Secretary Gale Norton and former Indian Affairs assistant secretary Neal McCaleb against charges of contempt of court.

The Bush administration fired eight U.S. Attorneys last December. Of the eight, five represented states with significant Indian Country.

All five were prominent members of DOJ's Native American Issues Subcommittee. Its chair, U.S. Attorney Margaret Chiara of Western Michigan, was among those who were ousted.

Chiara's predecessor in the post was U.S. Attorney Tom Heffelfinger of Minnesota. He was targeted for removal because he spent "too much time" on Indian issues, a former DOJ aide told Congress. He left in March 2006, prior to the firings of his colleagues.

Get the Story:
House Panel Backs Citing Bush Aides for Contempt (The Washington Post 7/26)
Senator May Seek Gonzales Perjury Probe (The Washington Post 7/26)
Panel Votes to Hold 2 White House Aides in Contempt of Congress (The New York Times 7/26)

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