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Lois Lerner Faces House Contempt Vote Next Week

FILE - In this May 22, 2013 file photo, Internal Revenue Service official Lois Lerner refuses to answer questions as the House Oversight Committee holds a hearing to investigate the extra scrutiny the IRS gave Tea Party and other conservative groups that applied for tax-exempt status, on Capitol Hill in Washington. A House committee is voting whether to hold the former Internal Revenue Service official in contempt of Congress for refusing to answer questions at a pair of hearings. Lerner previously headed the IRS division that processes applications for tax-exempt status. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File) AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File

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.

One last thing…
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