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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Reno Faces Contempt Charges

WASHINGTON -- A congressional committee voted Thursday to cite Attorney General Janet Reno for contempt of Congress for failing to turn over a report recommending that she seek an independent counsel to probe campaign fund-raising abuses.

The panel moved to the extraordinary confrontation on a 24-19 vote that went along party lines.

"The committee has a need to see these documents," said Rep. Dan Burton, chairman of the House Government Reform and Oversight Committee.

Representative Henry Waxman, the senior Democrat on the panel, denounced the action as "political theater."

"We're continuing to talk to see if we can reach an accommodation," Reno said earlier.

The full House of Representatives would have to endorse any contempt citation. Burton said action on the House floor would not come before Congress' August recess and he held out hope that Reno would turn over the reports.

If the House approved the contempt citation the matter would go to the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to determine if a contempt order should be issued. If the court issued a contempt order, Reno could be subject to a year in prison and a $10,000 fine.

Burton has demanded Reno turn over the report from the former head of a Justice Department task force that is probing alleged fund-raising illegalities by the 1996 Clinton-Gore campaign and the Democratic National Committee.

Reno resisted the committee's subpoena, saying that releasing such sensitive information would damage the investigation.