The fact that former IRS official Lois Lerner will sit down with Politico and the Justice Department, but won't talk to lawmakers about her role in the targeting of conservative groups applying for nonprofit status is "bizarre," says Washington attorney Cleta Mitchell.
"She didn't get any tough questions," Mitchell, who represents tea party groups allegedly targeted by the IRS, told J.D. Hayworth on "America's Forum" on Newsmax TV Tuesday
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"Any time she was asked a tough question, her lawyers who were sitting there with her said, 'Oh, she can't answer that,'" she explained.
Lerner told Politico
in the course of a two-hour interview released Monday that she "didn't do anything wrong" and that she's not "sorry for anything" that she did.
"Lois Lerner, who has refused to answer questions that are posed to her by the people's elected representatives ... but she's met with Politico and she's met with the Justice Department, who were supposedly criminally investigating her and she met with them but she will not meet out in the open and answer questions that the American people want to ask her," Mitchell said.
"That's pretty bizarre and unacceptable," she added.
Lerner was held in contempt
of Congress by the House in May after she refused to testify before two committee hearings.
The citation is now supposed to be handled by a U.S. attorney from the District of Columbia named Ronald Machen, who was appointed by President Barack Obama. However, it is unclear, says the Congressional Research Service, if the duty by the U.S. attorney is mandatory or discretionary.
According to Mitchell, "The House of Representatives should hire its own counsel and should file an action in district court in Washington that bypasses the Justice Department and argues to the core that as a separate branch of government, the House of Representatives should not have to wait for the executive branch to enforce its contempt citation."
"This contempt citation that was issued by the House ought to be enforceable by the House without having to do a 'mother-may-I' through the executive branch," she explained.
"It is a constitutional separation of powers argument that should be made, and the House should take that extraordinary step," the Washington attorney said.
"The House has its own authority and has implicit authority within the constitutional framework to enforce its own contempt citations," she added.
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