House Votes To Hold Lois Lerner In Contempt; Says She Has No Fifth Amendment Rights
The Republican House of Representative has voted to hold former IRS official Lois Lerner in contempt of Congress. This will get uglier.
The 231-187 vote fell almost entirely along party lines, a decision that cut across three sharp divides: balance of power issues between the branches of government, political questions over the IRS scandal, and a Constitutional debate over Lerner’s individual Fifth Amendment rights.
Lerner is in the middle of that trio. Until she retired last year, she ran the IRS division in charge of tax exempt status. An inspector general’s report concluded her staff had inappropriately targeted Tea Party and other groups for extra scrutiny.
The term “progressive” was also flagged but the inspector general report indicated that conservative terms drew more attention from the IRS.
For nearly a year, Lerner has refused House requests to testify on the matter, citing her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.
Republicans insist that doesn’t apply here, that she waived the right by first asserting her innocence when she appeared before the House Oversight Committee last May.