A House committee voted Thursday to hold a former Internal Revenue Service official in contempt of Congress for refusing to answer questions at a pair of hearings.
U.S. Rep. James Lankford (R-Okla. 5) serves on the Oversight Committee, and agreed with fellow Republicans and Committee chariman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) that Lois Lerner had effectively waived her Fifth Amendment right not to answer questions by providing an opening statement at the 2013 hearing.
Lerner previously headed the IRS division that processes applications for tax-exempt status. Last May, after providing an opening statement, she refused to answer questions at a House Oversight Committee hearing about IRS agents improperly singling out tea party applications for extra scrutiny. She again refused to answer questions at hearing in March.
“When the House Oversight Committee issues subpoenas to administration officials, they cannot come before the committee, make an assertion of fact that they did nothing wrong, then fail to provide any information to back up their claim,” Lankford said on his Facebook page. “They do have to back it up.”
Lerner's lawyer and Democrats on the committee disagree. The resolution now awaits a full House vote.
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