What to know about Eric Holder
June 27th, 2012
02:37 PM ET

What to know about Eric Holder

The U.S. House will proceed with a vote Thursday on whether to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress. Holder has been cited for withholding documents in the "Operation Fast and Furious" weapons operation.

Fast and Furious was a federal operation that involved agents' allowing illegal sales of guns believed to be destined for Mexican drug cartels. The idea was to track the sellers and purchasers, but things went awry when weapons found at murder scenes were traced back to the program.

Fast and Furious: By the numbers

As the proceedings continue with Holder, here's a bit of background on his time as Attorney General, as well as a timeline of the events involving Fast and Furious. (For an in-depth breakdown, you can also read more about the Fast and Furious investigation, which started with an agent's death.):

Eric Holder

-February 3, 2009 – present – Attorney General of the U.S.

-1997- 2001 – Deputy Attorney General of the United States.

-The 82nd (and first African-American) Attorney General.


-Birth date:  January 21, 1951

-Birthplace: New York, New York

-Birth name: Eric Himpton Holder, Jr.

-Parents: Eric Holder, realtor, and Miriam Yearwood Holder, a telephone operator

-Spouse: Dr. Sharon Malone

-Children: Maya, Brooke and Eric III

-Education: Columbia University, B.A., American history, 1973

Columbia University Law School, J.D., 1976

Other Facts:

-Co-chaired Barack Obama's vice presidential selection team.

-Serves on several philanthropic boards, such as the Meyer Foundation, Save the Children, and Concerned Black Men, a group that seeks to help D.C. teens with problems such as sub-par academic achievement and pregnancy.

Career highlights:

-1976-1988 – Trial attorney for the Department of Justice's Public Integrity Section.

-1988-1993 – Appointed associate judge for the Superior Court of the District of Columbia.

-1993-1997 –  Appointed U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia.

-1997-2001 – Deputy attorney general of the United States. He was the first African-American to hold this position.

-2001 – Served as acting attorney general during John Ashcroft's Senate confirmation hearings.

-2001-present – Litigation partner with Covington & Burling LLP.

-2007-2008 – Senior legal advisor for Obama's presidential campaign.

-December 1, 2008 – President-elect Barack Obama nominates Holder to be attorney general.

-January 15, 2009 – Holder's confirmation hearing in the Senate begins.

-February 2, 2009 – Holder is confirmed by the Senate, 75 – 21.

-February 3, 2009 – Sworn in by Vice President Joe Biden.

-February 18, 2009 – While delivering an address on race at the Justice Department, Holder makes a controversial remark calling the United States a "nation of cowards" for not discussing race relations.

-November 2009 – Holder announces that some of the alleged 9/11 conspirators, including the alleged principal planner of the attacks, Khalid Sheikh Mohammad, would be tried in U.S. District Court in New York rather than by military tribunals. (He would reverse that decision five months later, saying Congress had taken the decision out of his hands by restricting where they could be tried.)

-July 2010 – The Justice Department challenges an Arizona law (SB 1070) that cracks down on illegal immigration. Holder contends that federal immigration law pre-empts state laws. (The U.S. Supreme Court, on June 25, 2012, would strike down the controversial law’s major provisions).

-October 12, 2011 – Congressional investigators issue a subpoena for communications from Holder relating to Operation Fast and Furious, in which agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives allowed illegal sales of guns believed to be destined for Mexican drug cartels. However, hundreds of firearms went missing, and weapons found at murder scenes in Mexico - and at the scene of a December 2010 gun battle in Arizona that left Brian A. Terry, a U.S. Border Patrol agent, dead - were traced back to the program.

-June 20, 2012 – Obama asserts executive privilege over the documents sought by a House committee investigating the controversial Fast and Furious program. The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee recommends that Holder be cited for contempt of Congress for failing to turn over documents relating to the Fast and Furious operation.

-June 27 – House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, says the full House will vote June 28 on whether to cite the attorney general for contempt.

For more on Eric Holder and Fast and Furious:

Boehner: Contempt vote on Holder will proceed

Issa, White House clash over Fast and Furious executive privilege

Opinion: Don't be nosy about Fast and Furious

Holder rejects resignation call at heated Senate hearing

Executive privilege: A rocky legal and political road in U.S. history

Holder contempt vote sign of 'broken' Washington?

Why contempt case against Holder may be doomed

Contempt vote inflames Fast and Furious debate

CNN Money: The truth about the Fast and Furious scandal

soundoff (38 Responses)
  1. Mr Dalloway

    Talk about ineffective.

    June 27, 2012 at 2:58 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Jj

    Look. All the family and America wants to know is how in the heck one of our border patrol agent got gunned down by our own weapons?! Is that too much to ask for mr. President?! Apparently so with your "executive privelage". Who's protecting who here? I think any person with an IQ over 50 can figure that question out...

    June 27, 2012 at 3:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rascal Rabble

      it's called friendly fire...and the republican are experts at employing it...

      June 27, 2012 at 4:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cyril

      Read the Money article. It has some interesting information in it.

      June 27, 2012 at 6:26 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Stanley Burke

    I would guess the only thing the Republican Party has not considered in the President invoking Executive Privilege, is that he did not want the familys of the killed boarder agents to know how the were killed. I know the Republican Party is in for a very shocking suprise. The one good thing to still come out of this,is for the american people to see how much the Republican Party waste a lot of the countrys time and our money. Augusta, Ga.

    June 27, 2012 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jj

      r-e-l-e-a-s-e t-h-e d-o-c-u-m-e-n-t-s! Problem solved. No money spent. Jees. I gotta write in flippin code today

      June 27, 2012 at 4:41 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Jj

    Man CNN. You got the comments on lock-down today

    June 27, 2012 at 4:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jj

      figures they post that. Or this. Duh

      June 27, 2012 at 4:30 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Stanley Burke

    Jj would you want to know how your amily got killed,knowing how the killed the last agent. Da. man he is dead who wants to know how.

    June 27, 2012 at 4:52 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Stanley Burke

    howard read my first post than proceed to the second

    June 27, 2012 at 5:04 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Portland tony

    I should consider it an honor to be found contemptible of this Congress.

    June 27, 2012 at 5:13 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Jeff Frank (R-Ohio) "The Lunatic Fringe"

    So somebody says: Might fancy shootin irons ya got there. Mind if I borrow one for 5 minutes? Boom! Boom-boom!! Thanks partna, I wiped off the grease and dirt off it, so it looks new, just out of da box, if ya know what I mean.

    June 27, 2012 at 5:22 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Philip

    My contempt is not for congress, for w/o congress one man would decide for US.
    Oopsy. Fergot about executive privledge given US presidents since Nixon. Slipped my mind. he he Don't forget to 'duck down' when you hear a US president holler 'national emergency!'. Currently, our laws make him King under threat he himself declares.

    June 27, 2012 at 6:05 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Philip

    If I were King I'd of hollered 'National Emergency' in front of a bunch of Columbia University students.
    Maybe not. The last man who tried that was murdered in cold blood and in broad daylight as if a petty gangster. (JFK, of course, who spoke of a national emergency whereby certain men were controlling US from behind the scenes. Just 10 days before he was killed did he speak of this for the first time in public)

    June 27, 2012 at 6:19 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Cyril

    If the rest of the papers are part of an ongoing investigation, and they offered to show them to Issa and he refused, preferring to howl at the moon instead, then who is at fault here?
    And most of the problem with this whole deal is how some prosecutors in the case had no evidence to work with, so almost no one got busted and the big gang leaders? They turned out to be an FBI sting, yet some guns did not get to them but to actual criminals, thus the killings.

    June 27, 2012 at 6:31 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Colorado Springs Fire

    Most of the guns confiscated by Mexican authorities are made in either Israel or the USA. It has been this way for decades. This will not change until loopholes in our laws that allow gun show guns the time to get to Mexico before authorities are even informed of the sale, and until we nuke Israeli tunnels running to Egypt and beyond.

    June 27, 2012 at 7:15 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Colorado Springs Fire

    *until loopholes in our laws are closed.

    June 27, 2012 at 7:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rascal Rabble

      nra need to be held accountable for the blood on their hands...oversight committee should making recommendations for laws interupting these gun sales processes and diversion, as well as, directing local state and federal powers to close the loophole so that atf can get their mission accomplish and the prosecutor can put the bad guy in jail...but instead greedy profiteers and the promotion of political agendas take presidence over loss of life...duplicity abounds and this contempt is a farce along with nra delusions that obama mamma is to getmie...the talking bopping heads as usual are knuckleheads...with bonehead bohner and chairman rep ass, i leading the pack...

      June 27, 2012 at 9:09 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Wiggleworm

    Aren't most of the world's weapons made in the USA? So flippin what? Cut the misdirection.

    June 27, 2012 at 8:45 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Ancient Texan

    Since Holder won't release the papers and Obama is using executive privilege, what are they hiding.? THe family of the slain border agent and the people of America would like to know. If there is nothing incriminating in the memos, why not release them?

    June 27, 2012 at 9:58 pm | Report abuse |
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