Today the House Oversight Committee voted 21-12 to hold Lois Lerner, former IRS Director of Exempt Organizations, in contempt of Congress for refusing to answer the committee’s questions regarding the targeting of conservative groups. For a timeline on the IRS scandal please refer to http://www.discoverthenetworks.org/viewSubCategory.asp?id=1935
What is contempt? Individuals may be cited for contempt when they disobey an order, fail to comply with a request, tamper with documents, withhold evidence, interrupt proceedings or otherwise defy a public authority. Contempt of Congress usually applies to a person’s refusal to comply with a subpoena issued by a Congressional committee or subcommittee.
The contempt referral by the House Oversight Committee will next go to the full House. If the House approves the contempt citation, the House will then refer Lerner’s case to the Department of Justice, where Attorney General Eric Holder will have to decide how to enforce it. Fun fact: Eric Holder is the only Attorney General in to be held in both criminal and civil contempt of Congress for refusing to turn over documents tied to the Fast and Furious gun running sting.
Yesterday, the House Ways and Means Committee voted to refer Lerner’s case to the Department of Justice for criminal prosecution. Lerner could face up to 11 years in prison for criminal contempt, however, the Department of Justice is not obligated to take up the request. Here is the letter the House Ways and Means Committee sent to Attorney General Holder
By the way, despite its flagrant violation of the law, the Senate Democrats think the IRS is just peachy. Senate Democrats, including Senator Chuck Schumer, have prodded the IRS to continue to aggressively target outside groups expected to spend a lot of money on the upcoming midterm elections.
What do you all think should happen to Lois Lerner? Do you think Congress should first impeach Eric Holder so that they can get justice for conservatives who have been wronged by the IRS? Stay tuned. This is going to be an interesting ride.