Operation “Fast and Furious,” run out of the Phoenix division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, occurred between 2009 and 2011. Confusion arose as federal agents and the ATF lost track of many firearms that they originally suspected of being bought illegally by the Sinaloa Mexican drug cartel.
Investigation into the “gunwalking” scandal began, spearheaded by House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.). The committee investigated Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. for contempt of Congress after Issa and other House Republican leaders concluded that the Justice Department was withholding information related to the investigation.
On June 28, 2012, the U.S. House of Representatives voted 255 to 67 to make Holder the first sitting attorney general in U.S. history to be held in contempt of Congress for withholding documents requested as part of the investigation.