Thursday, April 10, 2014

House Oversight Committee Resolution for Lois Lerner Contempt of Congress Passes

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee has passed a resolution (in a 21-12) vote to
hold former Internal Revenue Service Tax Exempt Director, Lois Lerner in contempt of Congress for refusing to testify at two of the Committee's hearings.

The resolution posted by the Committee in advance of today's hearing states:

  • "...Resolved, That because Lois G. Lerner, former Director, Exempt Organizations, Internal Revenue Service, offered a voluntary statement in testimony before the Committee, was found by the Committee to have waived her Fifth Amenment Privilege, was informed of the Committee's decision of waiver, and continued to refuse to testify before the Commitee, Ms. Lerner shall be found to be in contempt of Congress for failure to comply with a congressional subpoena.
  • "...Resolved, That pursuant to 2 U.S.C. [//] 192 and 194, the Speaker of the House of Representatives shall certify the report of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, detailing the refusal of Ms. Lerner to testify before the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform as directed by subpoena, to the United States Attorney for the District of Columbia, to the end tht Ms. Lerner be proceeded against in the manner and form provided by law.
  • "...Resolved, That the Speaker of the House shall otherwise take all appropriate action to enforce the subpoena..."

Lerner has been pressed by congressional investigators to testify in the matter of IRS subjecting Tea Party and Conservative groups and individuals to additional scrutiny as a result of those groups applying for tax exempt status.  The groups and Congressional Republicans assert that this amounted to political intimidation and repression by the IRS and therefore the Democrat Party and the Obama Administration.

Events that have unfolded since this became an issue, include the Attorney General appointing an Obama campaign contributor to head the Investigation, which Conservatives and Republicans charge is a conflict of interest, while the Attorney General maintains that no conflict of interest exists.

Additionally and most recently on the eve of the vote on the Resolution of Contempt of Congress, Republican Committee members have charged collusion between the lead Minority Committee member, Elijah Cummings and the IRS to target for additional scrutiny another group, "True the Vote," and a withholding of information about that targeting, amounting to a cover-up, and an attempt to thwart, slow, or otherwise impede the Oversight Committee's investigation.

The document includes, in addition to a summary of the resolution, and its statement of authority and purpose, a back ground on the Committee's Investigation, documents showing Lois Lerner's refusal to comply with the Committee's subpoena for testimony, and the document's conclusion which states in part:

"...On May 22, 2013, Ms. Lerner gave an opening statement and then refused to answer any of the Committee’s questions and asserted her Fifth Amendment privilege. On June 28, 2013, the Committee voted that Ms. Lerner waived her Fifth Amendment privilege. Chairman Issa subsequently recalled her to answer the Committee’s questions. When the May 22, 2013 hearing reconvened nine months later, on March 5, 2014, she again refused to answer any of the Committee’s questions and invoked the Fifth Amendment...In short, Ms. Lerner has refused to provide testimony in response to the Committee's duly issued subpoena..."

You can see the pdf file of the Resolution HERE

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