Rep. Chaffetz: GOP Won't Let Go of IRS' Lerner's Refusal to Testify

Image: Rep. Chaffetz: GOP Won't Let Go of IRS' Lerner's Refusal to Testify

Wednesday, 07 May 2014 02:34 PM

By Wanda Carruthers

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If the House votes to hold former IRS official Lois Lerner in contempt, and Attorney General Eric Holder doesn't pursue the charges, the GOP is not going to "let go of" pursuing her for refusing to testify before Congress, Rep. Jason Chaffetz said.

Chaffetz predicted the House would vote "late this afternoon" to hold Lerner in contempt of Congress. Republicans claim she waived her Fifth Amendment rights when she made statements in 2013 to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee prior to questioning.

"We're not just going to let go of this," the Utah Republican told Fox News' "America's Newsroom" on Wednesday. "If we hold her in contempt of Congress, there's a very serious charge. And these things are not optional in this country."

The committee has been investigating claims the IRS targeted conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status. Should the House vote to hold Lerner in contempt, the case is referred to the Department of Justice.

Should Holder not pursue Lerner's contempt charge, Chaffetz indicated there were "a variety of other tools" available to Congress to continue their quest for answers about Lerner's activities.

Chaffetz expected the House to vote Thursday on a bill he co-sponsored with fellow Republican Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio asking Holder to appoint a special investigator into the IRS scandal. He said lawmakers wanted Holder to "appoint somebody who's truly independent to come in and try to get to the bottom of this."

Democrats may object to the investigation because "it tends to be embarrassing for them," Chaffetz maintained. He said it was important to get answers to questions about IRS activities to ensure the agency was not "a political organization."

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