The Republican-controlled House will hold a contempt vote next Thursday on embattled former IRS supervisor Lois Lerner, Majority Leader Eric Cantor says.
If the legislators vote to hold Lerner in contempt, it will be the most serious step taken by lawmakers in the controversy surrounding the Internal Revenue Service's targeting of conservative, tea party and religious groups.
Cantor, a Virginia Republican, had said last week that Lerner could stop the contempt vote
if she testified before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. She has twice invoked her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination before the panel.
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 requests for information.
The scrutiny of the groups started in 2010 and continued to just before the 2012 presidential election.
Earlier this week, Lerner's attorney, William Taylor III, asserted to Cantor and House Speaker John Boehner that holding his client in contempt would be "un-American."
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