House Committee Votes to Refer Lois Lerner to DOJ for Criminal Prosecution
The House Committee on Ways and Means voted today to refer former Internal Revenue Service (IRS) official Lois Lerner to the Department of Justice for criminal prosecution. Lerner has been at the center of the IRS controversy of targeting conservative groups for their political beliefs. Politico PRO reports (sub. req’d):
In an extremely rare, closed-door Ways and Means markup, the panel voted along party lines to send a letter to Justice, requesting it take the former head of the IRS tax-exempt division to court — though the Department already has an ongoing investigation on the matter.
House Republicans want her charged for improperly influencing the IRS to take action against conservative organizations; disclosing confidential taxpayer info, a felony; and impeding an investigation on the matter.
Heritage Foundation legal expert Hans von Spakovsky explains it is not likely the Obama Justice Department will take up the investigation:
“The House should not expect the Holder Justice Department to do anything,” von Spakovsky told The Foundry. “It does not seem that DOJ has been conducting a serious criminal investigation of the IRS targeting or of Lois Lerner, and it seems highly unlikely that Eric Holder will do anything about such a referral.”
The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform announced last week it would consider a resolution holding Lerner in contempt of Congress for refusing to answer questions before Congress, but von Spakovsky says this would be difficult to enforce, too.
Politico PRO reports Lerner’s lawyer William Taylor II maintains his client’s innocence.