Oversight Committee Approves Lois Lerner Contempt of Congress Resolution

April 10, 2014

WASHINGTON – Today, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee voted 21-12 to adopt a resolution recommending the House find former IRS official Lois Lerner in contempt of Congress for refusing to testify before the Committee.

“Today, the Oversight Committee upheld its obligation to pursue the truth about the IRS targeting of Americans because of their political beliefs,” said Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif. “Our investigation has found that former IRS Exempt Organizations division Director Lois Lerner played a central role in the targeting scandal and then failed to meet her legal obligations to answer questions after she waived her right not to testify.  In demanding answers and holding a powerful government official accountable for her failure to meet her legal obligations, this Committee did its job.  If the House takes up and passes the resolution, the matter will be referred to the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia, which statute requires he take to a grand jury.”

Background:

-          On May 22, 2013, Ms. Lerner was subpoenaed to testify at a hearing on the IRS targeting scandal. Ms. Lerner made a wide-ranging voluntary statement asserting her innocence, then stated that she intended to invoke her Fifth Amendment right not to testify. The hearing was adjourned so members could consider whether or not Ms. Lerner had waived her rights by issuing a statement.

-          On June 28, 2013, the Committee voted that Ms. Lerner had waived her Fifth Amendment right by making an opening statement  and could be called back to answer questions.

-          On March 5, 2014, the Chairman reconvened the May 22nd hearing. Ms. Lerner refused to answer Committee questions, again stating that she intended to invoke her Fifth Amendment right.

-          On March 11, 2014, the Committee released a staff report titled, “Lois Lerner’s Involvement in the IRS Targeting of Tax-Exempt Organizations.

-          On April 8, 2014, the Committee released a report recommending that the House find Lois Lerner in contempt of Congress for refusal to comply with a duly issued subpoena.

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