Rep. Farenthold: Halt Pay for Officials in Contempt of Congress

Wednesday, 16 Apr 2014 10:10 AM

By Courtney Coren

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A Republican congressman introduced a measure that would stop paychecks to officials held in contempt of Congress, including Attorney General Eric Holder.

The "Contempt Act" was introduced Tuesday by Rep. Blake Farenthold of Texas, who during a hearing with Holder last week said the attorney general should "be in jail" after refusing to comply with a House committee subpoena for documents related to the Fast and Furious gun running operation.

The Texas Republican also said at the hearing that he was planning to introduce a bill "that would prevent federal employees who are held in contempt of Congress or who fail to fully comply with a congressional subpoena from receiving their taxpayer-funded paycheck."

The legislation, if passed, would affect former IRS official Lois Lerner, who the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform voted to hold in contempt last week.

Lerner was put on administrative leave after the IRS scandal broke and announced her retirement in September. She still collects a pension from the government.

"The American people should not be footing the bill for federal employees who stonewall Congress or rewarding government officials' bad behavior," Farenthold said in a statement.

"If the average American failed to do his or her job, he or she would hardly be rewarded," he added. "High-ranking government officials should be treated no differently than everyone else."

Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky also has said if Lerner doesn't talk to Congress she should have to give up her pension.

"While you have a right to not incriminate yourself in a court of law, do you have the right as a government employee to continue to be paid and not cooperate?" Paul asked.

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