Cummings Issues Statement Condemning House Vote to Hold Lois Lerner in Contempt
Washington, D.C. (May 7, 2014)—Today, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, issued the following statement after the House voted to hold former IRS official Lois Lerner in contempt of Congress, despite the fact that she invoked her rights under the Fifth Amendment not to testify:
“Today, House Republicans took a significant step backwards in their duty to uphold the U.S. Constitution by voting to strip an American citizen of her Fifth Amendment rights. Chairman Issa has taken a page out of the playbook of Senator Joseph McCarthy, who tried—and failed—to use this same tactic sixty years ago. Dozens of independent legal experts have warned that Chairman Issa’s partisan contempt resolution is Constitutionally deficient and will be thrown out of court, but he has ignored these experts and pressed ahead.
“I am profoundly disappointed that the House Republicans voted down my amendment to have just one hearing with independent legal experts on this grave Constitutional issue before taking today’s vote, and that they blocked my request to release to the public the full transcripts of all 39 interviews the Committee conducted with IRS and Treasury Department employees—transcripts that show there was no White House involvement or political motivation in the screening of applicants for tax-exempt status.
“After a year of baseless Republican claims accusing the White House of orchestrating the targeting of conservative groups, I continue to believe that Congress should let the American people read the facts for themselves.”