US Attorney General Eric Holder has been held in contempt of Congress for refusing to hand over a set of files on a failed gun-running investigation.
In a 255-67 vote, 17 Democrats joined with the House of Representatives’ Republican majority.
Mr Holder is the first sitting attorney general and US presidential cabinet member to be held in contempt.
The White House has refused to hand over files outlining how problems with Fast and Furious emerged.
The operation saw US agents lose track of hundreds of illegal guns sold in Arizona and allowed into Mexico to target dealers.
Two of the weapons were found in December 2010 at the scene of a US border agent’s murder. Fast and Furious ended in early 2011.