The House of Representatives today held former IRS official Lois Lerner in contempt of Congress, by a vote of 231 to 187, for her failure to comply with a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee subpoena for testimony relating to the IRS's targeting of tax-exempt applicants. The House concurrently approved House Resolution 565, by a vote of 250 to 168, calling upon Attorney General Erik Holder to appoint a special counsel to investigate the targeting of conservative non-profit groups by the Internal Revenue Service.
"The American people deserve to know the truth behind the targeting of political groups by the Internal Revenue Service," said Congressman Don Young. ""While I respect the rights provided under the 5th Amendment of our Constitution, it has been made clear that Ms. Lerner selectively chose the type of information she provided on this matter in her testimony to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee -- effectively waiving her right to remain silent on the issue."
"When the IRS reviews an individual's or organization's financial documents each year, we must ensure that process is based solely on financial facts and not the individual or organization's political beliefs," said Congressman Don Young. "To ensure these practices never occur again and to uphold the constitutional duty entrusted to the House of Representatives to hold the government accountable, the actions taken today are absolutely necessary. I stand by the House resolutions passed today to hold Lois Lerner in contempt of Congress and appoint a special counsel to investigate the IRS' wrongdoing. Only time will tell the magnitude of the IRS' actions but the House will remain ever vigilant in its pursuit of the truth."
The House Resolution holding Lerner in contempt will now be sent to the Department of Justice, which will be presented to a grand jury for further review.
Alaskan Congressman Don Young is a cosponsor of H.R. 1950, the Taxpayer Nondiscrimination and Protection Act of 2013, which would make it a crime for IRS employees to target political groups and would increase the maximum penalty for discrimination from termination of service to criminal punishment. Additionally, the Taxpayer Nondiscrimination and Protection Act expressly states that political speech and political expression are rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.