Lawmakers should move quickly to hold Internal Revenue Service Commissioner John Koskinen in contempt of Congress for failing to comply with a subpoena in the scandal involving the agency's targeting of conservative groups, Rep. Jason Chaffetz said Thursday.
"The subpoena was issued on Feb. 14. Yesterday, on March 26, the IRS commissioner, I think, confirmed to the United States Congress he had no intention of complying with it. We should (hold him in contempt) as soon as we possible can," the Utah Republican told Fox News' "The Real Story With Gretchen Carlson."
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Koskinen maintained during a Wednesday hearing of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform that producing requested emails of former IRS official Lois Lerner could take years,
Since copying email files was a relatively simple procedure, Chaffetz said Koskinen's answer was "laughable" and made it clear he had "no intention of complying with that subpoena."
The delay by Koskinen followed two attempts by the committee to hear testimony from Lerner, who pled her Fifth Amendment right in each appearance. Chafetz said it was time for Congress to act if witnesses failed to testify or supply information for the committee's investigation.
"I think we ought to get some guts around here and start holding people accountable. Subpoenas are not optional in the United States of America. When you have a duly issued subpoena, you must comply with it. That is the law," he said on the Fox program.
There was no reason for Congress to consider granting Lerner immunity in order to persuade her to testify, Chaffetz argued, because he said, "We don't know what she wants immunity from."
"She may have done something that was terribly wrong. She may have done nothing wrong. But, come talk to Congress about it," he said.
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