In a recent report, Western Journalism explained that Republicans on the House Ways and Means Committee recently drafted a letter containing three specific criminal charges against former IRS official Lois Lerner. Wednesday, the committee reportedly voted in favor of sending the charges to the Justice Department in hopes that Attorney General Eric Holder will launch an investigation into her alleged violation of federal law.
Lerner, who faces a contempt vote in the House Thursday based on her repeated refusal to testify, is accused of using her position as head of the IRS’ tax-exempt division to subject conservative groups to added scrutiny ahead of the 2012 presidential election.
House Speaker John Boehner explained that the committee “has conducted a serious and thorough investigation of the IRS, uncovering abuses and criminal acts that should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
He reiterated his continued insistence that, “if Lois Lerner continues to refuse to testify, then the House will hold her in contempt.”
A combination of criminal charges and Thursday’s contempt vote, he explained, are part of the House GOP’s dedication to “use every tool at our disposal to expose the truth and ensure the American people get the answers they deserve.”
It is now up to Holder to decide whether to pursue charges against Lerner. According to Ways and Means Committee member Kevin Brady, “for the attorney general to turn a blind ey to this evidence would discredit him greatly.”
Many conservatives, however, contend Holder has repeatedly shown his willingness to put political ideology ahead of his sworn duty to uphold the law.
The U.S. Constitution offers the House an option to find someone in “inherent contempt,” which would allow for Lerner’s arrest if faced with Holder’s inaction. Both Brady and fellow committee member Tom Price expressed the hope that “the attorney general does his job.”
No matter Holder’s ultimate decision, however, this week’s proceedings in the House reveal that Americans – and more importantly, Republican leaders – have not let this unprecedented scandal fade into the background.
Photo Credit: Facebook/Lois Lerner