The House has approved a precedent-setting resolution to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in criminal contempt of Congress. It was the first time a sitting Cabinet member has been held in contempt.
A number of Democrats boycotted Thursday's vote.
Republicans pushed through the resolution because Holder did not turn over documents related to a botched gun-tracking operation known as Fast and Furious.
The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee wants Justice Department records from a 10-month period after February 2011. That month, the department initially denied guns were allowed to be purchased in Arizona and be taken to Mexico. In early December that year, the department acknowledged the assertion was wrong.
A separate vote will be held to hold the attorney general in civil contempt.
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)