Former IRS official Lois Lerner is "clearly hiding something" in her refusal to answer questions about the agency's targeting of conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status, U.S. Rep. Tim Huelskamp says.
Lerner, who asserted her Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination last May, did so again Wednesday before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.
The committee is investigating whether the IRS targeted conservative groups, including tea party activists, who were seeking tax exemptions.
"[She was] clearly hiding something, the question is how far up the administration food chain does this extend? It must be pretty high and she's covered for folks," Huelskamp, of Kansas, told "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV.
"I've learned a long time ago if you don't have anything to hide you shouldn't be pleading the Fifth, and most Americans get it," he said Wednesday.
Huelskamp says Lerner should be held responsible but doubts it will happen because Attorney General Eric Holder is unlikely to take action against her.
We should [hold her in contempt]. It goes without saying we should do that," Huelskamp said.
"But at the end of the day, you've got to rely on the Justice Department to take care of this, and therein lies the problem. That is the problem. Congress cannot prosecute."
He also said he would encourage the House Republican leadership to punish the IRS economically.
"Let's bring the IRS budget to the floor, start going after these folks, and the only way you get it is you use the power of the purse at the end of the day." .
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