FINALLY: Darrell Issa Schedules Lois Lerner Contempt Vote For Next Thursday…
We hear a lot of talk from Republicans about what they’re going to do. They talk and they talk and they talk and you just want to pull your hair out waiting for them to actually do something. Well, Darrell Issa finally appears ready to get down to business with Lois Lerner, who waived her 5th Amendment rights and may have been engaged in a criminal conspiracy inside of the IRS to go after the Tea Party.
The House Oversight Committee will vote to hold former IRS official Lois Lerner in contempt of Congress next Thursday.
Lerner, a key figure in the tea party targeting controversy that scarred the agency last year, has been under the threat of contempt for more than a month after she again invoked her Fifth Amendment right not to testify at a hearing.
“Americans expect accountability and want Congress to do all it can to gather relevant evidence about what occurred and who was responsible so that this never happens again,” said Oversight Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.). “Ms. Lerner’s involvement in wrongdoing and refusal to meet her legal obligations has left the Committee with no alternative but to consider a contempt finding.”
Lerner could theoretically be jailed if found in contempt, though that power has been used rarely.
“Every person who having been summoned as a witness…[who] refuses to answer any question pertinent to the question under inquiry, shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of not more than [$100,000] nor less than $100 and imprisonment in a common jail for not less than one month nor more than twelve months,” federal law states.
The contempt vote is expected to pass the Oversight Committee where it will be sent to the House.
Panel Republicans argue that Lerner waived her right not to testify after she gave a brief statement during a May hearing on the targeting.
After talks with her lawyer fell through, Issa said they would move forward with contempt – a move which could force an outside court to compel her to testify.
Lois Lerner used the power of the IRS to persecute private citizens for political purposes. That is absolutely unacceptable and if she is found in contempt, she should be put in jail until she agrees to testify under oath or until she spends the maximum sentence allowable by law in jail. When the IRS comes after YOU, you don’t get to tell the IRS to get lost because it’s convenient and Lois Lerner shouldn’t be allowed to get away with it either.