Lois Lerner, the former IRS official at the center of the IRS targeting scandal, will face a contempt vote in the House of Representatives next week.
“The House is also scheduled to consider a privileged resolution finding Lois G. Lerner, former director [of] exempt organizations, Internal Revenue Service, in contempt of Congress for refusal to comply with the subpoena issued by the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform,” said House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.).
Lois Lerner's decision not to testify before Congress could lead to a contempt vote against her next week. AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File
The contempt vote follows more than a year of Republican efforts to understand Lerner’s role in the IRS decision to scrutinize requests for tax-exempt status for conservative groups.
Lerner first testified before the Oversight Committee in 2013, when she read a brief statement proclaiming her innocence, and then pleaded her Fifth Amendment rights not to incriminate herself, and refused to answer questions. The committee, chaired by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), later convened a meeting in which the committee decided that Lerner had waived her Fifth Amendment right not to testify because she had offered an initial statement.
Earlier this year, the committee again called Lerner to testify, and warned her that she could be held in contempt if she refused to testify the second time around. But Lerner again refused to comment.
Issa’s committee has already voted that Lerner is in contempt of Congress. Last week, Cantor warned that the House would vote on this matter unless Lerner agrees to testify before the committee again.
Earlier this week, Lerner’s lawyer offered to testify before the committee instead, an offer that Republicans apparently see as not good enough.
Despite Cantor’s announcement, House aides indicated that the contempt vote could be postponed if Lerner were to agree at the last minute to answer questions from committee members.