The Republican-controlled House will vote next Thursday on whether to urge Attorney General Eric Holder to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the IRS for its targeting of tea party and conservative groups, Majority Leader Eric Cantor said Friday.
The vote will come on the same day the lower chamber votes on whether to hold Lois Lerner
in contempt for twice refusing to testify to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on the targeting scandal.
Lerner, who retired last year, was head of the department that evaluated applications for tax-exempt status sought by nonprofit organizations. Her department was found to have singled out tea party, conservative, and religious groups for specialized screening that often involved unusual delays and detailed information requests.
Cantor said that the Holder move comes because "it appears the Department of Justice has taken no action" on a referral by the House Ways and Means Committee that Lerner face criminal prosecution.
"There can be no doubt the IRS scandal has undermined the public's trust in our government," Cantor said. "This is far too serious a matter to leave to the discretion of partisan political appointees, no matter who is in the White House."
The scrutiny of the groups started in 2010 and continued to just before the 2012 presidential election.
Lerner's attorney, William Taylor III,
has told Cantor and House Speaker John Boehner that holding his client in contempt would be "un-American."
The Holder measure was introduced by GOP Reps. Jim Jordan of Ohio and Charles Boustany of Louisiana, Cantor said.
"I call on every member of the House, Republican and Democrat, to support this measure," he said.
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