House votes to hold former IRS official Lois Lerner in contempt

By Kyle Johnson,

The U.S. House of Representatives voted on Wednesday to hold a former Internal Revenue Service official in contempt of court for not answering questions regarding inappropriately close examination of certain groups seeking tax exempt status.

The vote passed easily in the Republican-led House in a 231-187 vote, which unsurprisingly mostly followed party lines, reports CNN. Lois Lerner is the former head of an IRS division that handled applications for tax exempt status and allegedly unfairly targeted conservative and progressive for closer inspections, though more of the former than the latter were held up.

Lerner continues to claim Fifth Amendment rights, which the GOP says shouldn't be possible as she previously proclaimed her innocence. "Mrs. Lerner made 17 separate factual assertions before invoking her right to remain silent, Rep. Richard Nugent (R-Fla.) said. "You can't make selective assertions and still invoke your Fifth Amendment right."

According to The Wall Street Journal, Lerner's lawyer, William Taylor III, said in a statement, "Today's vote has nothing to do with the facts of the law. Its only purpose is to keep the baseless IRS 'conspiracy' alive through the midterm elections."

The next move is likely for the House to hand over the contempt of court case to a U.S. attorney, who then in turn will take the case before a grand jury, though Lerner could still slip out of an indictment.

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