House Votes to Hold Lois Lerner in Contempt
The House voted to hold Internal Revenue Service official Lois Lerner in contempt Wednesday, a symbolic step in the Republican effort to hold the IRS accountable for targeting conservative and Tea Party groups.
The vote was 231 to 187. All voting Republicans voted in favor of the resolution, and only six Democrats joined them.
Before the vote, Republican members of Congress explained why the vote was so important.
“The American people need to know. Did the problems at the IRS originate with Lois Lerner or did she get her orders from someone within the White House,” Bachmann demanded during a press conference with Tea Party groups Wednesday afternoon.
Bachmann said that her experience as a tax attorney convinced her that the targeting of conservative groups could not have originated by low-level IRS workers.
Lerner has been the center of the IRS investigation controversy ever since she cited her Fifth Amendment rights, refusing to testify in the congressional investigation.
Republicans point out Lerner also claimed that she was innocent during the Congressional hearing in which she took the Fifth Amendment.
“If you start talking and establish your innocence before you claim the Fifth Amendment, then you have no right to claim the Fifth Amendment, and then you must answer all questions that are put to you that are relevant,” Rep. Louis Gohmert (R-TX) explained during a press conference with Tea Party groups.
Gohmert criticized the “weaponization of the IRS,” pointing out that everyone in the federal government should apologize to the victims.
Republicans admitted that although they voted to hold Lerner in contempt, it was unlikely that anything would come of it.
Gohmert explained that the vote was an important “next step” in the investigation but did not predict what would happen afterwards.
Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY), a member of the House Oversight Committee, explained that after the resolution passed, the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia should refer the contempt resolution to a grand jury.
“Of course he works for ultimately Eric Holder so we’re holding our breath, but not for too long to see what happens there,” he said in an interview with Breitbart News. “He himself is in contempt of Congress, so he’s not going to be a very good judge of what to do with Lois Lerner when we find her in contempt.”